Yến badminton festival of the Mong

VOV.VN - Festivals of the Mong in the northern province of Ha Giang have many community activities such as call-and-response singing, dancing with the khèn panpipe, and playing such folk games as stick pushing, tug of war, and yến badminton.

Yến badminton originated from a story about a boy from the Heaven. During a trip to the earth, he fell in love with a girl.  They often played yến badminton together.

The players toss the yến shuttlecock and hit it with wood rackets back and forth. This game is purely an exercise. There is no competition, no rules, and no winner, and no loser. Yến badminton is a popular game among ethnic people, particularly the Mong in Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province.

“The Mong in Ha Giang province have many folk games, such as spinning top, stick pushing, and tug-of-war, but the favorite one is yến badminton, and anyone can play it,” says Vang Ngoc Xuan of Thanh Van commune.

The rackets, made of pine wood, are light but sturdy. The racket hitting the shuttlecock makes a joyful sound. Playing yến badminton improves strength, speed, and coordination.

Vuong Thi Sim of Thanh Van commune says that before the festivals and the New Year celebration, she and her husband prepare new clothes, new rackets, and new shuttlecocks and then bring them to the festival.

Sim shares her tips for making rackets and shuttlecocks.

“To make the yến shuttlecock fly high and spin beautifully, we glue 5 to 7 chicken feathers on a piece of bamboo tube. We use a wooden board 35 to 40cm long and 25 to 30cm wide to shape a racket with a handle attacked to a flat circular disc,” she explains.

In a large yard, young and old people play yến badminton as a way to make friends and enhance community bonds. If a boy and a girl can hit the yến shuttlecock for more than 10 minutes without dropping it on the ground, they are predestined for each other. They may become husband and wife.

“Old and young people can play yến badminton, and this game brings people closer together during the spring festivals,” says Sim.

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