Ha Nhi Rainy Season Festival A Tribute To Ancestors | Blogs | Asianventure Tours

Ha Nhi Rainy Season Festival A Tribute To Ancestors

The Ha Nhi people celebrate the rainy season as an opportunity to communicate with ancestors and pray for good luck.

The rainy season festival of the Ha Nhi ethnic minority group is celebrated on the fifth lunar month (June 3 - July 2 on the solar calendar this year) when the first rain drops of the season have fallen, and rice plants are ripe and ready to be harvested. The community has a meeting to decide when to pay respect to their gods and ancestors. Usually, the festival falls on the lunar day of the pig or dragon.
One particular feature of this celebration is a giant swing that is set up before the festival day. This is a long-held tradition of the Ha Nhi people who live in the mountainous area of northwestern Vietnam, mostly in Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Dien Bien provinces.

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When the special day is picked, families start to prepare for the ritual. Women in the community dress for the event in all their traditional finery, often having it made new for the occasion.

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A pot of sticky rice is cooked for the festival ritual using a type of rice that can only be grown in the northwestern mountainous region.

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This year, the day of the pig was picked. Women rose early in the morning to make the rice and prepare dough for the rice cake. In order to make the latter, they use a set of wooden pestle. Almost all of members of the family take part in this process, marking the festival as a time of togetherness.
The finished cake symbolizes the accomplishment of hard work by the entire family over the previous year. It will also be an offering to their ancestors, who will hopefully be touched by the offering and bless the next harvesting season to be fruitful.

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The offerings also consist of two chickens, one egg, one bowl of water, and a bottle of wine. On top of that, the family members also offer some daily-use objects like bracelets, scarves, shirts, pants, and dresses.

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The ritual takes place both in and outside the house in front of the ancestors’ altar. In the picture, a man offers ancestors some wine and water as women kowtow on their knees.

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When the prayer is over, all family members partake of the water they just offered. The act of sipping the water symbolizes a union with the souls of the ancestors. The head of the family also returns the tribute items to their owners.

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A feast is enjoyed after the important ritual. Kids and senior members of the family are to have the first bites and then the rest of the family to follow. It is not unusual for cousins, families, and neighbors to be invited on the occasion.

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Two swings are set up, one indoors for kids and another in the village center for the adults.

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Ha Nhi rainy season festival a tribute to ancestors - 9

The rainy season festival of the Ha Nhi lasts four days, which is a big holiday for the community. They do not go to work and only engage in entertainment and leisure activities like feasts, drinking, dancing and singing. This is also a time to rest and regain strength after a hard-working year.

Vietnam’s latest census survey (2009) showed there were almost 21,800 Ha Nhi people in the country.

Source : vnexpress.net

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