|The Bay Nui bull race is held during the traditional Sene Dolta festival of the Khmer ethnic people in the southern province of An Giang. 64 pairs of bull from An Giang Province and two from Kien Giang Province raced at this year's event. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— Khmer ethnic people yesterday began celebrating Sene Dolta, the traditional festival held to worship ancestors, one of their most important events of the year.
Officials from the Viet Nam National Fatherland Front, Steering Board for the Southwest Region, and Bac Lieu Province on Wednesday and Thursday visited Khmer pagodas in the province and presented gifts to monks there.
They then went to Vinh Long Province where Thach On, an official at Can Thay Pagoda in Tra On District, said the Khmers were happy to welcome them during the festival.
Sene Dolta is also being celebrated elsewhere with gaiety. Hundreds, including students and Government officials, gathered at the Candaransi Pagoda in HCM City's District 3 yesterday, and Superior Buddhist Monk Danh Lung, member of the Fatherland Front and head of the pagoda, spoke about the noble purpose of the festival and reminded people to be grateful to their ancestors.
Vo Van Thien, the Front's southern head, hailed the contributions made by the Khmer people to socio-economic development in their localities as well as the country.
Sene Dolta is one of the Khmers' most important festivals along with Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year) and Ooc Oom Bok to thank the Moon for a good harvest.
They gather to pay homage to their ancestors and enjoy traditional singing and dancing after a hard year's work.
Sene Dolta is celebrated from the 29th of the eighth lunar month to the first of the ninth month.
Racing of the bulls
To celebrate this year's festival, the Bay Nui bull race will be run at the Tho Mit Pagoda in An Giang Province today.
Sixty-four pairs of oxen from the districts of Chau Thanh, Chau Phu, and Thoai Son in An Giang and Hon Dat and Kien Luong in Kien Giang will be joined by others from Cambodia's Takeo Province.
The organisers expect to welcome 30,000 visitors to this year's race. — VNS