February, 03 2014 15:27:00

Phong Hien festival is a swinging success

Phong Hien villagers in central Thua Thien - Hue Province gather at their traditional swinging festival this morning. The event often attracts thousands of contestants and supporters, young and old, every year. -- VNS Photo Phuoc Buu 

THUA THIEN - HUE – Since early this morning, the villagers of the Phong Hien Commune in Phong Dien District have been holding pennants and beating drums.

They have gathered in the front yards of communal houses to open their traditional swinging festival. Du tien, meaning fairy swing, is a typical cultural event in the central Thua Thien Hue Province's Phong Hien Commune's rural areas in the early days of each New Year.

One of the early birds at the festival, local resident Ho Van Nam said, "The festival starts from the fourth day of the New Year and runs till the 10th. The traditional swinging is so popular that it often attracts a huge number of participants each year."

There were different types of swinging poles. But the favourite one of the Phong Hien villagers is the pair swing on which a man and a woman compete with those on other pair swings, Nam said.

"Up in the sky and far from the ground, the swingers feel like they are close to heaven. So the entertaining game is widely known as du tien or fairy swing," he added.

In Du tien, competitors have to try to swing the highest. Those who can snatch the pink scarf will win the game. -- VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

The swings are made of old, straight bamboo trees which are usually chosen from all across the region. Next to the swings, a pole is erected on which a pink scarf is tied at a height equal to that of the swing.

The contestants have to try and swing the highest. The winner is the one who snatches the pink scarf. Each pair of contestants needs to flex their legs in order to swing well and coordinate rhythmically.

Elderly residents said that winning is not important. The festival is more significant for creating a joyful atmosphere for the local people at the beginning of the year.

The event is not a spiritual one for the local people and presents them with a chance to wish for favourable weather conditions, peace, prosperity and bumper crops.

That's why the Phong Hien swinging festival attracts thousands of young and old people who join as contestants and supporters. – VNS

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