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Bac Ha horse racing – from tradition to national heritage

Traditionally, the horse race in Bac Ha district in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai is usually held in the spring on a regional scale.

In 1975, Bac Ha held a parade with over 200 horses to celebrate the liberation of the South Vietnam and the country’s reunification. In the spring of 1980, the Bac Ha District Military Command organized a horse race to choose good horsemen and gunners to join the militia and transport food by road. After that, Bac Ha did not organize any more tournaments.

In 2006 the traditional horse racing festival in Bac Ha district was held again and it was officially restored the next year. The traditional horse racing festival has become an annual activity of Bac Ha district to meet the needs of local people to enjoy a cultural and spiritual life, contributing to the conservation and development of traditional horse racing, promoting the unique cultural and sports traditions of the local ethnic minorities and at the same time, promoting the image of people and tourism in Bac Ha to domestic and foreign tourists.

The annual traditional horse racing festival has become a highlight of Bac Ha district's tourism, which attracts an average of 25,000 - 30,000 visitors.

In May 2021, the festival was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

VietNamNet would like to introduce interesting images of the races in 2006 and 2020:

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

After many years of abandonment, in 2006 the Bac Ha Horse Racing Festival was held with the participation of farmers from all ethnic groups in the region. The jockeys were equipped with helmets to protect their heads.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

Since 2007, the festival was officially held annually. In 2020, the Bac Ha horse racing festival also opened for jockeys from other provinces, not only in Lao Cai. The jockeys were equipped with uniforms and helmets.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

In 2006, all jockeys were men.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

In 2020, for the first time, there were two female jockeys.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

The race in 2006.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

The race in 2020.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

A jockey in the 2006 race.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

A jockey in the 2020 race.

 

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

A horse suddenly left the track at the 2006 event.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

This horse knocked the jockey off his back and galloped off the track.

 

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

Female spectators at the 2006 race.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

One of the two female jockeys of the 2020 race.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa

The winner of the 2006 racing with a wreath of flowers on his head and a simple plate.

Lễ hội đua ngựa Bắc Hà từ ngày đầu tổ chức đến Di sản Văn hóa
The winner of the 2020 tournament was presented with a solemn gold trophy.

Le Anh Dung

Efforts made to preserve Bac Ha horse racing festival

Efforts made to preserve Bac Ha horse racing festival

A horse racing festival in Bac Ha district in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai was recognised as a national intangible heritage on May 31. 

 

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