Viet Nam News
SÓC TRĂNG — Ok Om Bok Festival, also called Festival of Worshipping the Moon, kicks off today, November 16, in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Sóc Trăng.
In Sóc Trăng, the Sene Dolta and Chol Chnam Thmay festivals are the most important Khmer festivals of the year, said Danh Phương, deputy head of the provincial Department for Ethic Minorities Affairs.
This year’s event is being held from November 16-22, featuring dozens of economic, cultural and sports activities to promote local culture, tourism, and economy.
The highlight of Ok Om Bok Festival will be ghe ngo (Khmer long boat) race on November 21.
The race has attracted 48 teams, including 10 teams of females, from the provinces of Sóc Trăng, Vĩnh Long, Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau.
The Khmer ethnic people view the race as both a game and a way to express solidarity, as well as a traditional ritual to see off the God of Water to the ocean after the growing season.
It is also a religious ritual of the Khmer to commemorate the snake god Nagar, who once turned into a lump of wood to help the Buddha cross the river, according to legend.
The festival will also feature a variety of cultural and sports events, including traditional music and dance performances, traditional games, a food festival, and painting and photography exhibitions.
There will be 100-stall trade fairs displaying specialties from Sóc Trăng and neighbouring provinces, and seminars on investment and tourism promotion.
The Ok Om Bok festival takes place under the full moon in the 10th lunar month, when it changes from the rainy season to the dry season, when harvesting occurs.
The Khmer believe the moon is a god who controls the weather and crops throughout the year.
On this occasion, the Khmer provide offerings of farm products to thank the gods for favourable weather and a bountiful harvest. – VNS