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Central province throws festival fit for sea gods

Update: February, 18/2017 - 14:22
Fishing for attention: A fishing boat is held up in a procession, as villagers pray for a bumper catch. — VNS Photo Huê Phong
Viet Nam News

THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — The immense ocean and its intimidating ambience has always been unpredictable to the fishermen. Traditionally, fishermen have reposed their faith on supernatural forces, expecting them to ensure their safety during fishing trips and help them net bumper catch.

Thái Dương Hạ, a fishing village sitting on the coast of central Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, holds a festival every three years to honour the supernatural forces which they believe govern the sea. During the festival, fishermen perform rituals to gods entreating them for a safe fishing expedition and bumper catch.

Life is short: Middle-aged women and men depict life in a fishing village in a short play. — VNS Photo Huê Phong

According to the elderly men in the village, the festival also includes a section to honour the village’s founder Trương Thiều. Legend says that five hundred years ago, Thiều left his home village in central Thanh Hóa Province, arrived here, and formed the village.

He taught locals how to fish and make fishing boats. A day before the 11th day of the first month, every three years, elderly men in the village makes offerings to Thiều at a temple where he is worshipped, informing him of the organisation of the festival.

Fake blue sea: A fishing boat enacts the performance of netting of fish. — VNS Photo Huê Phong

They then start the ritual ceremony for gods early morning, followed by entertainment activities, which include musical performances, re-enactment of the fishing activity and selling of fish on the seaside, in addition to a boat race and a procession, in which 102 families take part to celebrate the event.

The procession carries the offerings of the locals around the village, invoking their patron saint to have a look at their life. Meanwhile, the boat race is held to entertain locals.

Herd mentality: Thousands of people flock to Thai Dương Hạ village’s communal house for the re-enactment. — VNS Photo Huê Phong

The re-enactment of the life of the fishermen is the biggest draw for villagers and visitors. This makes the event a fun festival for residents in Thuận An Town - the territory comprises the village - with people of all ages taking part in the re-enactment.

The village festival helps the present generation get acquainted with their tradition, experts said.

Việt Nam News’ reporter captured the scenes of the re-enactment. — VNS

 

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