DIG IN LADS: Two competing teams pull some bamboo, which runs through a hole on a big wooden pillar. The pillar stands firmly on the ground. The athletes lean their feet against wooden pillar to have more power to pull the bamboo back toward their team's side. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn
An ancient form of tug of war is still organised at the Trấn Vũ Temple Festival on the third day of the third lunar month in Thạch Bàn Ward, Long Biên District, Hà Nội.
Legend has it that during a serious drought, only one of 12 wells in Ngọc Trì Village still contained water.
SOLEMN: A worship ceremony is conducted before the folk game asking gods for good weather, bumper crops and a prosperous life. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn
Men from Chợ Hamlet went to collect water from the well but were stopped by men from Đìa Hamlet. At that time they used bamboo twine to carry the water home.
GET READY: Before the game, competing teams offer worshiping objects at Trấn Vũ Temple, which include various things like a pig's head and sticky rice. The heads of the teams lift the bamboo string up and down three times in front of the altar. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn
When a fight for the precious resource broke out, both sides were afraid of spilling the water, so they sat down and battled to pull the water from each other, some even clinging on to the buckets for dear life.
Heave-ho: An aerial view of the battle. VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt
When the drought was over, elders in the village initiated the game as a reflection of the fight at the village festival in order to wish for a better weather, a bumper crop and a prosperous life.
Winning: Win or lose, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that they are helping to preserve a cultural heritage. VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt
The event has been recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The festival at Trấn Vũ Temple includes a ceremony and the tug of war to express locals’ respect for the gods and their desire for a peaceful life. — VNS