|Red Dao women
The Red Dao in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai observe Day for the Thunderbolt Deity on the 1st day of the 3rd lunar month.
They believe that the Thunderbolt Deity is the top mandarin in the Heavenly Court. He is in charge of managing the earth.
The Thunderbolt Deity sleeps in the dry season and wakes up in the rainy season to patrol the earth, they said. He will bless all good people with lots of luck and punish those who were bad, according to Trieu Thi Nai in Phuc Loi commune.
“On the Day of the Thunderbolt Deity we don’t go out to work but instead stay at home. Villagers gather together to make clothes and embroider. We make sure to keep silent on the Day of the Thunderbolt Deity,” Nai said.
The Red Dao don’t go to the forest and cut trees on Thunderbolt Deity Day. Making noise is prohibited because the Thunderbolt Deity can thus be roused to anger and punish the villagers.
This year’s Day of the Thunderbolt Deity coincides with the Grave Visiting Festival, when people care for their ancestors’ graves to pay tribute to their spirit.
Trieu Thi Tiep in Phuc Loi commune said, “The Day of the Thunderbolt Deity is a special custom observed in the hope for the peace and safety of all people. We also wish for good weather, fruitful trees, and bumper crops.”
The Red Dao have continued to observe the abstention day for the Thunderbolt Deity with wishes for blessings from other deities that govern forests, springs, and mountains.