Long Tong festival in Tuyen Quang province

Nga Do
Long Tong festival is annually held in Vinh Loc (Vĩnh Lộc) town, Chiem Hoa (Chiêm Hóa) district, Tuyen Quang province on the 8th lunar January. This is really folk festivals deeply imbued with the culture of Tay (Tày) ethnic group.

Traditionally, Long Tong festival has a bamboo three-layer shelf made and located in the middle of a large field. One this shelf, there lay all offerings to Gods like: Thần Nông (God of Agriculture), Thổ Địa (God of Soil) praying for good weather, productive crops, peaceful life, good health, etc.

On this day, at dawn, the shelf with offerings on is processed to the place where the ritual will take place. Leading the procession are 7 mighty men with branches in hands going while swinging their arms with branches. This action is believed to drive away miasmata and risks. Followed is the group of lion dances and next priest (the magician-in-chieft of the ritual). Followed are 9 trays of offerings carried on 9 girls' heads. The offering includes boiled chickens, cakes, rice seeds, corn seeds, peanut seeds, soya seeds, fruits, and white alcohol. These trays are laid on the Tồng shelf. The top layer is called "thượng án" - the place to lay the primary tray of offerings, the second layer is called "Trung án", and the last layer is called "Hạ án", each layer is laid with four trays facing the East where Bach Than (Bách Thần) mountain stands imposingly.

The ritual of laying Tồng tray carried out bay the priest is followed by thanksgiving ritual and praying ritual of happiness and prosperity. Ritual of rain and ploughing prayer is a must of Long Tong rituals. Simulation of rice transplantation and seeding is performed through dances of pupils.

Regarding activities of this festival, the first and also the most distinctive activity is "còn" throwing. This is an indispensible activity of Long Tong festival. Hung on the tree are three circles symbolizing for Heaven-Earth-Mankind. To the knowledge of local inhabitants, "còn" must be thrown through these circles. Only by going through these circles especially by noon, will that year be in good weather conditions and get productive harvests. There are various activities held during this festival such as: dragging-on, cooking contest, singing and dancing contest, etc that attract a lot of participants.

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