The rain festival of Lo Lo minority people in Meo Vac, Ha Giang
The rain festival is undisputably the most traditional festival among the Lo Lo people living in Meo Vac; Ha Giang. Once integrated in this uniquely cultural festival you will learn so much more than you ever imagined; taking with you a sense of humbling serenity like no other.
In the beginning stages of the ceremony the Lo Lo people gather in the middle of the village; inviting ceremonial people such as the village chief or senior citizens to help commend the practice. Everyone then proceeds to prepare the holy sacrifices for the gods.
Among these are animals; swords; wine; and four scented bamboo sticks intended to symbolism the four heavens. This is completed by lighting the incense and scattering dazzling gold paper and silver over the offerings in a final tribute before the ceremony
In order for the rain ceremony to be successful, it is imperative that the procedure is commemorated using ancient prayers. Using a cup of water, incense and paprika the priest first burns the incense at the majestic alter of the ancestors, then places the cup of water down before continuing with prayer. Gold paper is then wrapped around the cup of water, and after it is poured out the rain ceremony can commence successfully. Only once the paper is burnt out is the ceremony complete.
After the rain ceremony, all of the villagers gather for drinking and dancing around the table. At this time, the boys and girls of the Lo Lo ethnic group will perform ancient folk songs that sing of love and praise for the country, and celebrate the happiness of couples.
Embedded in the Tay Con Linh mountain range in northeastern Vietnam is the astonishingly beautiful Noong lake; surrounded by primitive forest and rocky mountainous landscape.
The area both in the lake and on land are enriched with many different plant and wildlife species; contributing endless life and diversity to the surrounding area.
Lake Noong’s water reserve travels along the Lo river from a tiny creek in a cave positioned between two mountains sitting in the cliffs of the primeval forest. Another fascinating connection to the Lo river is three underground cave systems. Therefore, whenever water rises in the rainy season herds of catfish travel upstream the river; in pursuit of the calm water of Lake Noong.
The fish living here grow and develop naturally; and species such as the bitter fish and catfish are enjoyed by many visitors who travel here; and are famous for their delicious taste. The fish can be caught and barbecued with grilled onion; fried; or cooked with sour soups and vegetables. That is speciality of the place.
Due to the over flow from the rocky outcrops all year round the lake never runs dry. In the rainy season; tourists have the luxury of visiting this fairy tale lake by either raft or boat. In the dry season the lake is shallow enough to walk through; as you take photos of the surrounding beauty. Locals call this lake “The eye of the mountain” as under the light of the moon or the sun the water gleams and twinkles dazzling shades of silver.
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE HERE
At present forty households reside on the side of the lake; where people live and work in a fishing aquaculture. The people who live here enjoy a strong economic advantage and can make a very fulfilling and honest living.
Come to Noong lake and be immersed in the natural beauty; feeling it all around you as you hear the buffalo far away in the terraced hills that hug the mountain; see the Local folk’s houses woven like silk into the forest as if they had been there from beginning of time. Escape reality and enter an old realm of civilization dating back hundreds of years; hearing the temple bell ringing out from the Binh Lam Pagoda. Here the colours and sounds of the countryside blend together in perfect harmony; making heaven a place on earth.
Nestled in the foot of the mountain in the stunning Ha Giang district beholds the charmingly quaint market of the Quyen tien community. Here the efforts of the Hmong people’s long working weeks are unveiled in a shower of colourful culture for just one Saturday morning.
Highland markets have long been a highly desirable destination of choice for tourists on discovery paths. They feel their soul awakening as the sunlight trickles up the mountain peak in the midst of morning; and see streams of the Hmong people with their radiant and rich tapestries of dress working from dawn until dusk.
This market in particular in the Ha Giang province is an event of extreme social and cultural importance. Throughout the maze of stalls historic profound beauty is painted and crystallized over the indigenous Mongolian dress and jewelry.
The women here are spoiled for choice as they gaze upon magnificently crafted clothes; shoes and silver rings. The men congregate towards the tobacco pipes and buy ancient remedies and medicines for their families. When the hum of the market softens at the end of the day; the people settle down together in satisfaction and sheer happiness; enjoying many cups of wine; laughing as they tell each other stories and jokes about the day.
For the indigenous people of the mountainside in Ha Giang this market is much more than just a means of shopping and selling It is a truly recreational time for meeting friends and having fun together. The market is essentially a living museum of timeless culture and ancient practice, that both mesmerizes and captivates all who come to experience it.
Na Luong cave, recently announced as a national heritage site is considered to be the most beautiful cave in all of Vietnam. The entrance towers 30 meters in height but is secretly shrouded by over grown forest and vines.
People can admire the gleaming stalactites hanging right from the top of the cave entrance that stretch throughout the length and breadth of the cave. Along the bed of the cave it is known that rock formations stand out in the appearances of fish, wild boar and buffalo.
Na Luong cave is burrowed deep into mountain, with its water level thousands of meters in depth. Adjacent to Na Luong Cave is another cave system, with 7 independent caves, all of which are close together creating a cave complex that visitors can explore.
Being a cave deep in the mountains; the cave has long been inhabited by thousands of bats. Should the flocks be disturbed at any given moment they immediately take flight in synchrony; blocking partial streams of lights from the cave and creating a very impressive image for its visitors.
With its beautiful terrain; spacious and cool aired atmosphere; it has proceeded to become a great tourist attraction of Ha Giang. Finding Na Luong is about finding tranquility; discovering nature up close and personal; and making many of your own discoveries in the enchanting land of Ha Giang.
Lung Phin market also known as Lung Cu market is located in Lung Phin town in Ha Giang province.
Lung Cu is more than just the average Vietnamese market; for it is a unique and special community of more than 16 ethnic groups living in the Ha Giang rocky plateau and this in particular is truly one of a kind for the north of Vietnam.
The market comes to life in the early hours of the morning; when the sun has not even yet risen in the sky; As people from all villages in the Lung Phin district and neighboring area bring goods to sell throughout the day.
People travel to and from the market at the break of dawn with backpacks; tied to one another as they travel in unsion along the winding road to the market and some even travel by horseback; the horse pulling a cart up the meandering valley.
The items at this market include rice; fresh fruit; vegetables; meat; household items; clothing and fabrics that the ethnic people make all by themselves. Specialities include mint honey; Lung Phin tea; free range hill chicken and many other goods popular with tourists.
Another reason this market is so beautifully unique is that it not only serves as a platform for selling goods and sustaining people’s livelihoods but also a social haven that brings people together and creates long lasting relationships- local people find their partners for life at this market; as both men and women chat drinking together having fun; browsing the beautifully coloured clothes and creating memories that last forever.
Visit Lung Cu market and see a timeless; captivating feature of Vietnam like no other. Have a drink with the locals and enjoy life in the present as it should be
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.