|Hạng A Anh's family members gather together to celebrate the H'mong ethnic minority people's New Year Festival. VNA/VNS Photos|
SƠN LA — The H'mong ethnic minority people in the mountainous province of Sơn La's Bắc Yên District are celebrating their New Year festival, which is one of their most important events of the year.
Their traditional New Year customs have been preserved through generations. Visitors to their villages at this time of the year will can witness and enjoy the unique and interesting activities of the local people.
The main rituals and customs are banishing the bad things of the old year and sealing the family's labour tools with paper. The breadwinner in the family will take charge of the sealing job, then the tools will be placed in the corner of the altar.
|A man conducts the ancestor worshiping ritual, banishing evil in a family, in Làng Chếu Commune, Bắc Yên District, Sơn La Province. — VNA/VNS Photo|
It is the time to honour and tribute to the plow, harrow, knives and hammers which have helped in farming and gardening activities to produce food for the family.
Hạng A Anh's house in the Chang Dua Hang Village in Làng Chếu Commune has just been completed. His family members are busy preparing and doing procedures to welcome the traditional Tết.
Like other families, in Anh's Tết tray, bánh dày (white, flat, and round glutinous rice cake) is an indispensable dish. H'mong people believe that the shape of the cake symbolises the moon and the sun - the origin of the birth of people and all things on earth.
|The sticky rice is cooked and put in a wooden mortar to pound until smooth. — VNA/VNS Photo|
To make the cake, sticky rice is soaked and cooked, then poured into a wooden mortar.
|Young men in Chang Dua Hang Village take charge of pounding the rice into bánh dày rice cakes. VNA/VNS Photo|
The healthy and strong boys use the pestle to take turns pounding the rice until it is fine and smooth and then wrap it with banana leaves. The first six pairs of cakes, consisting of 12 pieces representing 12 months in a year, are offered to heaven and earth and to the god of crops.
|Sticky rice after pounding is wrapped in banana leaves to be round-shape bánh dày. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Anh said this Tết was special to his family because they were supported to have a new house. His family would enjoy the New Year in a cozy place together and review the work of the previous year and discuss plans for the next.
During this time in Bắc Yên District, tourists can witness folk games and singing and dancing performances together with local residents.
Hanoian Lê Như Quỳnh was in love with the dances of H'mong people and their traditional costume.
Quỳnh said the H'mong's customs were unique while the costumes were colourful and beautiful.
Bắc Yên District is home to different nationalities and 45 per cent of them are H'mong. The local government always cares and creates the best conditions for them to preserve the customs, rituals and unique cultural features. It is also a way to maintain the national identity and attract tourists to the locality.
"H'mong people's Tết festival has become a unique cultural activity and identity of Bắc Yên. Their customs and activities during the New Year not only is a special product of the local tourism industry but also contribute to the diversity in tourism of the district," said Trịnh Thị Phượng, vice chairwoman of the Bắc Yên's People's Committee.
She added that this tourism product was expected to push the development of Bắc Yên's tourism while creating jobs, increasing income, and improving conditions for local people. VNS