Khmer festival takes to the water

Update: November, 25/2015 - 08:28

Pulling hard: Teams of women compete in the ngo boat race in Soc Trang City yesterday. — VNS Photo Le Hoang Vu

SOC TRANG (VNS) — Fifty-five teams from the Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang participated in the Long Boat Race Festival of the Khmer people in Soc Trang Province from November 23 to 25.

The men's teams competed in 1,200m races while the women's teams took part in 1,000m competitions.

This year's event includes an experimental long boat made of composite materials.

The annual boat race is one of the highlights of the many traditional historical and cultural events of the ethnic Khmer people in the Mekong Delta.

The long boat (locally called ngo) is considered a sacred object of the Khmer people.

The boat is made of wood by artisans and Khmer Buddhist monks. It is decorated with images of dragons, tigers, elephants, lions and peacocks representing the power of the boat.

The boat race is an activity celebrating the Ok Om Bok Festival held on the 15th day of the 10th lunar month with art performances, traditional sports and games, and release of paper lanterns into the air and on the river.

During the festival, people pray for good luck, happiness, good weather and a bumper crop.

The festival aims to preserve the cultural heritage of the Khmer and promote the tourism potential of the province.

This year's festival will also include a wide range of activities including parachute performances.

The Soc Trang provincial authority has asked the local tourism and hospitality industry not to raise hotel room fees and service prices during the festival. — VNS