Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival- A unique festival in Vietnam
Published: 25/04/2012 12:27
The Buffalo Fight in Do Son is a traditional festival that is attached to a Water God worshiping ceremony and the "Hien Sinh" custom. The most typical reason for the ceremony is to express the martial spirit of the local people in Do Son, Haiphong. It is an outstanding and unique festival in Vietnam which is associated with different legends.
The Do Son Buffalo Fight is a traditional festival that is attached to a Water God worshiping ceremony and the "Hien Sinh" custom. The most typical reason for the ceremony is to express the martial spirit of the local people in Do Son, Haiphong.
Thousands of people annually gathered at the stadium of Do Son Town, Hai Phong City to witness the attractive performances of buffaloes within the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, an outstanding and unique festival in Vietnam which is associated with different legends.
One of the legends has it that long time ago, one Creator caused a severe drought. All living things looked toward the sea, praying for Creator’s favor. In the most miserable moment, suddenly, people saw two buffaloes fighting fiercely on the wave crests and the rains started to pour down, revive all creature. The local people organize the fighting performance annually to show, not only their great gratitude for the Sir Buffalo but also their desire for the immortal vitality and strength of coastal people of Haiphong. Being held officially and annually on the ninth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar since the 18th century, the festival is a chance for local people to pray for prosperity and happiness.
The preparation for this buffalo fighting festival is an elaborate process, from the 5th and the 6th lunar month itself. The competing buffaloes must be carefully selected and methodically trained months in advance of the festival. These buffaloes, that had experienced the qualifying round, must be between 4 and 5 years old, with a good appearance, a wide chest, a big groin, a long neck, an acute bottom and bow shaped horns. The selected buffaloes, after all the elimination rounds, are fed in separate cages to keep them from contact with common buffaloes.
Buffalo fighting performance
The beginning of the worshiping ceremony lasts until lunch time. Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival takes off with a colorful procession with an octet and a big procession chair, carried by six strong young men. The chosen buffaloes, covered with red cloth and red band around their horns, are taken to the fighting ring by 24 young men, from each side dressed in red. The young men dance and wave flags as the two teams of troops take their positions in the fighting ground. The dance was mingled with the ebullient sound of drums and gongs, bringing a hectic atmosphere to the festival. After this event, a pair of buffaloes is led to opposite sides of the festival grounds and is made to stand near two flags called Ngu Phung. As soon as the right signal is released, the two buffaloes are led into the fighting circle. At the next signal, the two leaders release the ropes that are attached to the noses of the buffaloes. With well-practiced movements, the buffaloes rush into each other, using their fighting skills to decide the right to enter the next match while the spectators shout and urge the fighting along. Then, the winning buffalo goes to the next round till the final winner emerges. The matches varied in terms of time, depending on the strength and stamina of the buffaloes. At the completion of the fight, the spectacle of "receiving the buffaloes" is very interesting as the leaders must then catch the winning buffalo to grant it its reward.
Recently, this traditional festival has attracted not only local residents but also thousands of domestic and international tourists who travel to Vietnam.
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