The “Nghinh Ong Thang Tam Vung Tau” festival, which lasts from September 11-18, includes rituals such as praying the sea gods, a procession of the whale god from the sea to the Thang Tam Temple and hosting a feast to ancestors and heroic martyrs.
The event also features a number of traditional performances including folk games, swimming, and fishing and net-making competitions.
Vietnamese fishermen believe that whales rescue people in danger at sea and can bring them a prosperous fishing season.
Thus, the annual Nghinh Ong festival offers a chance for fishermen to express their gratitude towards the Nam Hai god (a whale) and the sea gods for protecting and supporting them in their daily lives and at sea, while praying for peace and a good harvest.
The “Nghinh Ong Thang Tam Vung Tau” festival was recognised as one of the fifteen biggest festivals in the country by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2000.