Long Tong festival kicks off in northern provinces

The Long Tong (going to the field) festival got underway in Bo Lu field, Nam Mau commune, Ba Be district of Bac Kan province on February 19 (the tenth day of the first lunar month).

This is the biggest agricultural festival of the northern mountainous province and Viet Bac region (including six provinces of Bac Kan , Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, and Ha Giang).

Local ethnic groups offered trays of local specialities to gods to thank them for the crops and to ask for their blessings so local people can enjoy favourable weather conditions and have a comfortable and happy life in the New Year.During the festival, cultural and sporting activities including stilt walking, shooting with a bow and arrows, and “con” (cloth ball) throwing are organised.

As Ba Be lake has just been recognised as a special national heritage, this year’s two-day festival also includes tours on the lake.On the same day, a similar festival also took place in Thai Nguyen province.The ceremony involves solemn rituals to pray for good crops and good luck byTay, Dao and San Chay ethnic minority groups.A prestigious shaman is the first person to go off the field to conduct the Long Tong ritual while a good elderly farmer and a strong buffalo are chosen to make the first furrow for the new crop.

Regarding activities of this festival, the first and also the most distinctive activity is “còn” throwing. This is an indispensible activity of Long Tong festival. Hung on the tree are three circles symbolizing for Heaven-Earth-Mankind. To the knowledge of local inhabitants, “còn” must be thrown through these circles. Only by going through these circles especially by noon, will that year be in good weather conditions and get productive harvests. There are various activities held during this festival such as: dragging-on, cooking contest, singing and dancing contest, etc that attract a lot of participants.

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