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Giving thanks to the forest

Update: March, 23/2019 - 09:00
FEAST: People prepare food to prepare for the party after the ceremony.—VNS Photos Việt Dũng
Viet Nam News

Nguyễn Việt Dũng

A forest worshipping ceremony is among the biggest traditional events of the year for the Mông ethnic minority group in Nà Hẩu Commune in the northern province of Yên Bái.

HOT STUFF: A man plays a traditional instrument at night.

The ceremony, also known as “Tết Rừng” (Forest New Year Festival), is held at the end of the first lunar month.

GIVING THANKS: A shaman worships under an old tree.

The ritual starts with a procession of offerings, including a rooster and hen, a pig, wine, some rough paper and incense, which are displayed on an altar made of bamboo.

HOTFOOT: Locals dance round a bonfire at night during the festival.

A local shaman prays to invite the Forest God to enjoy the offerings and bless people with favourable weather all year round and abundant crops.

The shaman then together with young men kill the rooster, hen and pig and take feathers dipped in the blood to offer to the old tree to inform the Forest God the villagers had made the offerings.

SONG OF THE FOREST: People perform traditional instruments in a procession to carry offerings to the entrance of the forest for the ceremony.

The rooster, hen and pig are then used to make dishes to offer to the God once more.

After the ceremony, villagers gather to enjoy a party.

OFFERING: A local shaman prays as he offers food to the Forest God.

During the three-day event, locals avoid entering the forest, chopping down trees, collecting leaves or picking bamboo shoots to give thanks to the Forest God.

 Locals also enjoy art shows and folk games during the ceremony.

The belief has been handed down through many generations.

 

HEAVE-HO: Locals join in a game of tug of war at the festival.

Nà Hẩu Nature Reserve Site covers an area of nearly 17,000ha, and is home to abundant flora and fauna, many of which are among rare species.

The forest also protects the Hồng (Red) River Delta’s ecological system. — VNS

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