The annual Nghinh Ông (Whale Worshiping) Festival has officially been kicked off in the HCM City’s coastal district of Cần Giờ. Photo courtesy of vov.vn
HCM CITY — The Nghinh Ông (Whale Worshipping) Festival 2019 has been kicked off in Cần Thạnh Town in HCM City’s Cần Giờ District.
The festival officially opened on Thursday with an opening ceremony, featuring many songs and dances.
Locals and relevant authorities participated in this event, including former vice chairman of the HCM City People's Council Trương Thị Ánh and deputy director of the HCM City Police Department Nguyễn Thanh Hưởng.
During the festival, many activities are being organised from September 11 to 13, with attendance of 70,000 participants.
Cần Giờ’s Nghinh Ông Festival 2019 is primarily held at the city-level architectural site Ông Thuỷ Tướng Temple (Temple Worshipping the Whale), together with other locations such as Sác Forest, Cần Thạnh Communal House, the central roads in Cần Thạnh Town and at sea.
Locals have also arranged worshipping activities at some Cần Giờ’s communal houses and shrines during the full moon in lunar August. After this, fishermen will gather in Cần Thạnh Town to attend the official Nghinh Ông Festival.
The festival aims to demonstrate fishermen’s respect for whales that help them at sea and the worshipping of whales for a bumper fish catch.
Previously, this festival took place around the middle of the third lunar month. However, due to changes in economic conditions since 1914, Nghinh Ông Festival has been shifted to lunar August since it is a successful month for fishermen.
This year, along with a grand traditional ceremony in accordance with local customs, other cultural, arts and entertainment activities such as fishing, catching ducks at sea, tying crabs, and playing football on stilts will be introduced.
Nguyễn Văn Tốt, head of the Culture and Information Division of Cần Giờ District and deputy head of the festival management board, said: “We encourage HCM City locals to not litter on the roads and canals. We are emphasising the love for our homeland’s seas and islands since Cần Giờ contributes to HCM City,” he said.
The Nghinh Ông Festival was recognised as a national Intangible cultural heritage in 2013. VNS