Do Son fighting buffalo festival
Location: Do Son district, Hai Phong city
Festival duration: August 9th (lunar calendar)
Buffalo fighting is a unique and traditional festival of people in Do Son District, Haiphong City. This festival is not only associated with Water Goddess worshiping and sacrificing custom but also expressed bravery, chivalry, and risk-taking spirit of people in the coastal city of Hai Phong.
The festival derives from the belief of Do Son’s locals that buffalo fighting is in favor of their guardian gods and hence a continuity of this activity brings them safe voyages, abundant crops as well as healthy and wealthy people—signs of prosperity and happiness. As a matter of fact, Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival has been long conducted within the region since the 18th century.
The festival is annually and officially operated on August 9th in Vietnamese Lunar Calendar; however, its preparation takes participants nearly a year to process. From choosing the right buffaloes to buy, raising and training them—all of which require hard work and ongoing effort. For example, selection of fighting buffaloes only must be in great meticulosity as they must meet a wide range of requirements: at least 4 or 5 years old, wide chest, bow-shape horns, toned thighs, and long tail. Also, these buffaloes are kept separately from normal ones, and so on.
Like other festivals in Vietnam, Buffalo Fighting Festival consists of two parts: Spiritual rites and entertaining activities. Since the first day of the 8th Lunar month, at the General Commune House of all villages in Do Son District, the elders carried out a sacrificial ceremony towards Diem Tuoc God with participation of all of the villages which have buffaloes joining in the occasion. After that, there is a ceremony worshipping Water Goddess, in which the holy water is annually changed and given to each village to worship in their own Village Hall. Also, buffalo owners lead their fighting buffaloes towards Village Halls to carry out the Tutelary God Worshipping rite. After this sacred ceremony, each fighting buffalo is officially called “Mr. Buffalo”, representing the locals’ spiritual life, hope, and belief.
Tuan Chau Pearl Isle
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