|HONORING WHALES: The Nghinh Ông Festival in Cần Giờ District will be held from September 9-11 to show fishermen’s respect to whales that help them at sea, as well as worship of whales for a bumper fish catch. – VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hương|
HCM CITY — HCM City’s coastal district of Cần Giờ will host its annual Nghinh Ông Festival from September 9-11.
The festival’s highlight will be a procession on land and at sea which will be held on September 11 (or the 16th day of the eighth lunar month.)
The procession will start from Ông Thủy Tướng Temple (Temple Worshiping the Whale) and then move to the sea. It will be followed by local residents and fishermen in traditional costumes and dozens of fishing vessels.
The ritual aims to show fishermen’s respect to whales that help them at sea, as well as worship of whales for a bumper fish catch.
The organisers will held music shows featuring songs and dances in praise of the city and the country at Cần Thạnh Park every night during the festival.
The shows will include performances from the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương (reformed opera) Theatre and the HCM City Hát Bội (classical drama) Theatre, whose performers will offer several extracts from famous plays.
The festival will include a release of lanterns to the sea organised by young people who will pray for a good fishing season, and a visit to Rừng Sác War Martyrs Cemetery to remember soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country.
The organisers will host exhibitions showcasing photos and objects which feature fishing activities, and the Cần Giờ mangrove forest, a world biosphere reserve recognised by UNESCO in 2000.
A trade fair introducing OCOP (one commune one product) products from Cần Giờ and HCM City will also be held.
Folk games, water puppet performances and a Mid-Autumn festival for local children will be included as well.
The organisers will also host a series of sports such as cycling, marathon and water sports during the festival.
The Nghinh Ông Festival in Cần Giờ was recognised as a national Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. It is the only traditional festival for fishermen held to celebrate their fishing vocation and lifestyle.
The event, organised by the city Department of Culture and Sports, helps to promote tourism in Cần Giờ, as well as nurture young people’s love for Việt Nam’s sea and islands. — VNS