Fire dancing festival of pa then minority community in Ha Giang
This brilliantly vibrant yet ancient festival is still celebrated at large by the Pa Then ethnic group of Tuyen Quang province. The inhabitants of this province are scattered far and wide in deeply remote areas but they all still unify as one culture in traditional costume; music and song for the God of fire on the 16th day of the first lunar month every year.
The ceremony, which is believed to bring good fortune and opulence; is practiced to fortify the alliance between man; nature and god. Before the ceremony takes place; the village Shaman prepares offerings as a ritual for the gods; asking divine permission to proceed with the fire dancing.
The Pa Then people them must wait and abstain from jumping in the fire; until the gods have been worshipped and invited to join the ritual. In the lead-up to this mesmerizing frenzy percussion instruments are played up until the Gods agree to let the people join the fire. This only happens once the coals are red and the blaze has weakened.
Once the boys and men of the pa then people join the fire it is like a hypnotic illusion- they skip and dance barefoot among the hot coals painlessly as if they feel no pain at all. Some even dig out the scorching coals with their bare hands and put them in their mouths. They do this in the hopes of driving out evil spirits or simply in prayer of supreme health and strength.
After the fire has deceased and the charcoal has cooled the shaman makes one final summons for the spirits to be driven away and the people conclude with laughter and excitement; cherishing this unique and sacred ceremony.