Chaotic culture: The ugly, violent side of Vietnamese spring fests

Thanh Nien News

Email Print


The festival season has just begun in Vietnam and once again sparked a lot of debate about whether many traditions are too violent and chaotic.
Most springtime rituals in Vietnam were created centuries ago to commemorate ancient war heroes and show respect to gods to pray for good health, peace and prosperity -- all honorable causes.
But how people celebrate and perform the rituals is another question.
Sometimes that involves brutally killing animals in public. And also very often that involves fighting one another to become the first in line, to touch the good luck charms, or simply to show who's the strongest. 
Young men fight one another at the so-called luck-seizing festival in Phu Tho Province on February 20. The festival is to commemorate a princess who helped fight Chinese invaders nearly 2000 years ago. Photo: Kieu Duong
Six sacred balls will be tossed out after a spiritual ceremony and those managing to seize or just touch one are believed to have a good year. The game was first created as to train soldiers during ancient time. Photo: Kieu Duong
Young men climb on each other for the balls. Photo: Nguyen Khanh/Tuoi Tre 
 At least one has surrendered when the game turns chaotic. Photo: Kieu Duong
 Many jump into the river for the balls, made of bamboo roots. Photo: Kieu Duong
What festival? This looks pretty much like a mob fight. Photo: Kieu Duong
A man almost passes out from the pushing and shoving. Photo: Nguyen Khanh/Tuoi Tre

More Arts & Culture News