VOV.VN - Tet celebrations have become a unique cultural activity and identity of the ethnic Dao Tien people of Hoai Khao village in the northern province of Cao Bang.
Nestled in a vast valley and surrounded by the majestic Phia Oac and Phia Den mountains, Hoai Khao village in Cao Bang province is home to a total of 34 families of the Dao Tien ethnic community.
Tet festival represents one of their most important events of the year, with their traditional New Year customs being well preserved through several generations. Visitors to their villages at this time of year are able to witness and enjoy the unique and interesting activities of local people.
On the 28th and 29th days of the last lunar month, in all corners of the village, visitors can hear the familiar and bustling sounds of locals preparing food for their biggest festival and the cheers of children while playing traditional games.
One month before Tet, families in the village prepare pigs, chicken, delicious glutinous rice, and La Dong (Dong leaves) to wrap Banh Chung (square sticky rice cake) which is an indispensable of new-year celebrations.
Furthermore, each family goes to the forest to get wood in order to cook and keep warm during the winter. Many local people believe that a stove is used both to keep warm in cold days, as well as to symbolise a happy, peaceful family, and a prosperous life for the entire year.
Ly Thi Van, a resident of Hoai Khao village, said the work of cleaning and preparing for Tet is shared by all family members. Women often make embroideries on new clothes in order for the whole family to dress up for Tet celebrations. In addition, men do plenty of work, including feeding pigs and chickens, as well as preparing food for the family.
Men are also responsible for cleaning the house, the altar, and pasting the red paper in order to throw away all the bad things from the old year to welcome good fortune in the new year.
Wrapping Banh Chung is also an opportunity for the entire family to gather, talk about things from the old year and share plans ahead in the new year. Chung cakes also symbolise a lucky new-year period.
On the Lunar New Year’s Eve, each family prepares an offering tray, including one chicken, two pair of Chung cakes, four bowls of vermicelli, four glasses of wine, and one cup of water placed on the altar for worship to the ancestors.
Praying to the ancestors to bless their children and grandchildren in the new year with good health, good business, and good crops is a traditional custom that has been passed through generations.
Family members then have meals together, with Tet providing them with a chance to enjoy a family reunion, sing Pao Dung folk songs, and celebrate the Lunar New Year festival.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, locals get up early to prepare offerings to give thanks to the water god and the tree god.
They burn incense near wells and streams, saying thanks to the gods who have provided drinking water for the family in the past and to wish for good things ahead in the new year.
Dao Tien ethnic people spend Tet visiting relatives, neighbours, and friends, wishing them all a happy new year.
On the sixth day of the first lunar month, locals hold a ceremony to worship the earth on the first day of working, wishing for prosperity in the new year.