|At least it’s not greased: A man plays the blindfold pig catching, a popular game during Tết among the Mông.|
Villagers in Thẳm Phẩng Village in Mường Ảng District of Điện Biên Province are celebrating Tết during one of the coldest winters in the region.
Belong to the Mông ethnicity, one of Việt Nam’s 54 ethnic groups, locals here usually celebrate Tết a month earlier than the rest of the country. This year, Tết came even sooner because of an extra month in a leap year.
There are 30 days in a month in the Mông calendar with no exception. The 361st day is the Mông’s Tết, their biggest celebration of the year.
Bánh giầy (a white, flat and round glutinous rice cake) is the holiday’s must-have food. Locals typically make a lot of bánh giầy for ceremonies and also to give families, friends and visitors to their village.
On the last day of the year, the Mông cleaned their house with a small bamboo branch while praying for health and prosperity for the household in the year to come.
In another Tết ritual, a member of the household, who holds a rooster and a hen while he or she stands by the front door along with a shaman. The shaman occasionally tosses a bamboo branch outside while chanting in a symbolic gesture to throw out all sadness and misfortune of the old year.
On the morning of the first day, a Mông household erects a tall tree in the middle of the front yard. Using a rope and tree branch, they create a ceremonial U-shaped gate. All members of the household then follow the eldest under the gate, men seven times and women nine times, in a ceremony to bring good luck.
The holiday season is also a time for the people to enjoy outdoor activities, musical performances and traditional games. — VNS
|Launch it: Tù lu, an outdoor game with a wooden spinning toy.|
|Tradition: A family walking under a ceremonial gate during a ritual to bring good luck in the year to come.|
|Two for luck: A woman holds a rooster and a hen by her door during a Tết prayer ritual.|
|Family fun: A mother takes her babies out to join the village new year celebration.|