While many upcoming festivals have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, festive cheer has still been abundant in Vietnam in recent days.
Traditional spring festivals opened across the country before the decision signed on Friday by Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy to postpone, cancel or scale back many events.
More than 40,000 people have flocked to Huong Pagoda in Hanoi's My Duc District from January 29, which will continue despite the cancellation of other events, including Cướp Phết, or 'Compete for Lucky Ball Festival', in the northern province of Phu Tho.
|Huong Pagoda Festival, one of the most crowded pilgrim festival in spring in the north. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung|
Nguyen Van Hau, deputy chairman of My Duc District’s People’s Committee and head of Huong Pagoda Organising Board, confirmed that authorities prepared solutions to ensure security and safety for tourists.
Hundreds of policemen have been assigned to work at the site in the early festival period. The festival will run till the end of the third lunar month.
According to Hau, boats have been equipped with lifejackets for passengers. However, authorities reported illegal gambling still happened at the site despite frequent examinations by policemen.
Less competition at festivals
Fighting for lucky offerings leading to violence at Giong Festival in Soc Temple in Soc Son District, Hanoi, was absent from this year's edition on January 30.
|A statue of Saint Giong, a lengedary hero, who fought against northern invaders under Hung Vuong era (2879-258BC), at Soc Temple in Soc Son District, Hanoi. VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam|
For the past three years, the organisers of the Giong Festival have excluded the custom of competing for lucky offerings among locals and tourists. Offerings donated to Saint Giong were then divided among locals and tourists so no one has to fight.
People believe that grabbing some of the offerings at the festival will bring luck.
Besides crowded festivals like Huong Pagoda and Giong Festival, Hanoi still hosts more peaceful festivals like Co Loa Village Festival (January 30) with a solemn worship ceremony and palanquin procession around a local ancient holy well.
|A palanquin procession at Co Loa Festival in Dong Anh District, Hanoi. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyet|
Two Trung Sisters Temple Festival in Me Linh District has gathered thousands of participants but no chaos has been reported.
This year’s festival on January 30 celebrates the 1,980th anniversary of the uprising against the Chinese invaders by the two Trung sisters. Addressing the festival on January 30, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh noted that the two Trung sisters’ uprising in AD 40-43 left a spiritual heritage and priceless lesson on solidarity, uniting people and fighting spirit among Vietnamese people.
Thuy Linh Ball Catching Festival in Hoang Mai District also took place in a cheerful atmosphere with fighting and competing for prizes on January 30.
Ninh Thi Thu Huong, an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported to the ministry’s leaders that all traditional festivals have been organised safely and at low cost.
|Men compete for the lucky ball at Thuy Linh Ball Catching Festival in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan|
Wrestling festival praising martial arts spirit
Thousands of people attended a traditional wrestling event in Thu Le Communal House, Thu Le Village, Quang Phuoc Commune, Quang Dien District, in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue, also on January 30.
|The annual wrestling event in Thu Le Village, Quang Phuoc Commune, Quang Dien District, in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue, aims to honour the spirit of martial arts. VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau|
This year’s event gathered 100 male and female wrestlers. Veteran wrestlers and professionals opened the event and were followed by junior wrestlers and amateurs.
The annual event aims to honour the spirit of martial arts and allows anyone in good health to take part.
According to local elders, Thu Le wrestling festival started under the Nguyen Lord era (from the 16th century to 1777) to recruit strong young men for the royal army.
In the past, the event was only for locals, but now wrestlers from other localities can join.
The event also aims to wish for a peaceful nation and prosperous people as well as solidarity among locals.
The event has also helped select wrestlers for national and international sporting events.
Thu Le Communal House dates back to the Nguyen Lord era and has been recognised as a national-level architecture relic site. VNS
The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism has recommended postponing or cancelling traditional festivals which are yet to start, and for those which already began in the face of the threat of coronavirus.
The Vietnam Writers Association has decided to postpone the annual Poetry Day, which is normally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, due to the continued spread of coronavirus.