Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The second Sa Pa Winter Festival opened on Saturday with great performances and saw the participation of thousands of local residents and tourists.
It is one of the last activities to celebrate the National Tourism Year’s North-west Colour in Lào Cai Province.
It is also an event to attract more tourists to the small, beautiful mountainous town, which is a must-visit destination on Việt Nam’s travel list.
This year’s festival is divided into two periods. The first one was from December 22 to 24 and the second one is from December 29 to 31.
At this year’s festival, visitors will have a chance to enjoy traditional performances, take part in folk games and taste local specialities.
Street parades, light installations, cuisine week, fashion shows presenting the traditional clothes of Việt Nam’s different nationalities and lion and dragon dances in the town’s central area are expected to lure tourists.
A highlight of the festival will be fire dancing ceremonies by the Red Dao ethnic community.
Fire dancing of the Red Dao ethnic people is a highlight during the Sa Pa Winter Festival 2017. — VNA/VNS Photo Việt Hoàng
The ceremony is an ancient custom in which a supernatural power seems to strengthen the dancers, giving them strength and courage to dance barefoot on burning coal.
The ceremony is usually held at the end of the year or at the beginning of spring. Fire brings warmth, celebrates a bumper harvest and pleases the gods, bringing prosperity and wiping away evils and illness.
The 2017 winter is forecast as the coldest one in 100 years. The town is expected to welcome snow and frost, which will be a rare and a unique scene here.
However, in case there’s no snow, Sa Pa’s Snow Days will still be attractive with artificial snow being blown at the tiny town centre.
Apart from the festival activities, Sa Pa is also set to welcome travellers who are curious to know about the ancient stone church, Fansipan Peak, Mường Hoa Valley and Hàm Rồng Mount, as well as Heaven Gate, Cát Cát and Tả Phìn villages, among other places.
The organisers expect to host up to 4,000 visitors during the festival. — VNS