Cow Racing Festival in An Giang

 Cow Racing Festival in An Giang

The 20th Bay Nui ox-racing festival will be held at Thom-mit temple in Vinh Trung commune, the southern province of An Giang, on December 22, with 64 pairs of cows from southern provinces ofVietnam and Cambodia.

Thousands of Khmer ethnic minority people, nuns and monks joined the four-dayKhmer Cultural Festivalpromoting solidarity among the 54 ethnic minority groups and special cultural identities in Vietnam.

Cow racing festival is organized on a flat rice field about 200 meter long and 100 meter wide.

The rice filed used for cow racing festival must be muddy. The racing path for cow racing festival is 120 meter long. Before the cow racing festival, famers choose the best pairs of cows for racing. The cowboy hold the stick with sharp point when the race starts, he will hit the cows to make them run as fast as they can. Because famers use a pair of cows for cow racing festival therefore the cowboy must know how to make the two cows run at the same speed.

Cow Racing Festival is observed on the last day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar annually.

This is the calendar subscribed to by the Khmer, an ethnic minority group inhabiting the Mekong delta province of An Giang. This tribe celebrates this festival as a part of the Don Ta Ceremony in which tributes are paid to the fore-fathers. You can witness this festival if you visit the Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts. Interestingly enough, the festival is accompanied by a cow race, the setting of which is meticulously prepared.

Features of Cow Racing Festival in Hanoi

–   People visit a pagoda on the day of the festival and Khmer tribe invite the spirits of their fore-fathers to join with the living members while eating.
–   Even the guests are warmly and grandly greeted by the members of the Khmer tribe because the guests are believed to have been sent by the ancestors.
–   After the prayer, the locals go to the local river where they create rafts by tying the trunks of banana trees. Then these rafts are used to contain the offerings which are floated in the water to be taken away by the current.
–   However, the main attraction of the festival is the cow race.
–   The race track is laid on an even ground, which is approximately of 60 meters and 170 meters
–   An elevated land surrounds the track on which the spectators sit. A line separates the race track into two lanes, each of 90 meter in length and of 4 meter in width.
–   During the festival, two cows are each hooked to a disc and each of the cows are supervised by a chief-man (Nai) standing on the pedal.
–   The end of the race is specified by red and green flags.
–   The teams , each with two pairs of cow and two men, are not allowed to steer away from the straight line of running the race
–   As the race continues, people celebrate the mood of revelry with food and fun.

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