Today: 21/10/2020 08:52:58 (GMT+7)
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Go to Van village to see mud ball wrestling festival

(BGO) – The mud ball wrestling festival of Yen Vien village (or Van village), in Van Ha commune, Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province opened on May 26 (the 12th day of the fourth lunar month). The festival, which takes place in three days (from May 26 to 28), is a feature of wet rice culture, showing the desire of farmers for a year of good weather and bumper harvests. This is considered the "unique" festival in Vietnam, attracting many visitors.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

When the ritual master throws the ball into the yard, loincloth-clad young men of the two teams compete for the ball amid dirty muds. Everyone is determined to win the ball. They compete fiercely for three days, with a two-hour match per day.

The game is organized as follows: 16 healthy young men participating in the game (called fighters) are divided into two teams (each with eight people), called the upper team and the lower team. The wrestling festival is held on a yard of about 200 sq.m, with muddy surface and two holes in the two ends to push the ball into. A half of the game is ended with a push of the ball into the hole. On the 12th day of the 4th lunar month, two goals were scored (marking a draw), three goals were made on the 13th day (the score 2-1) and four pushes were scored on the 14th day (ending in a draw).

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The fighters in turn perform the rituals of worshiping Saints Tam Giang. Each of them drinks three bowls of wine, eats melon and goes to the yard to show off himself before the audience.

Legend has it that there were four brothers namely Truong Hung, Truong Hat, Truong Lung and Truong Lay, who followed Trieu Quang Phuc to fight against the Liang invaders. When defeating the Liang army and coming back to Da Trach marsh, they were harassed by black demons. The two sides fought. The demons gave a proposal that if they win, they must get a great reward, and if they are defeated, they will follow the four brothers. Finally, the black demons lost the battle, so they had to follow the four brothers called Saints Tam Giang. Therefore, the Van villagers open the mud ball wrestling festival (also known as Khanh Ha wrestling festival) on the death anniversary of the Saints, with the aim of celebrating the victory.

Some images of the festival:

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The fighters drink wine before starting the match.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Lion dances before the mud ball wrestling match.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The fighters performed rituals of worshiping Saints Tam Giang.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The fighters warm up before the match.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The 20kg ball used in the game is made of ironwood. It has been kept in the communal house from generation to generation. According to spirituality, each push of the ball into the pit symbolizes the harmony of the earth and heaven, good weather and bumper harvest.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Fighting hard to win the luck.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Talking about the uniqueness of the festival, ancient people had a poem saying that: "Khanh Ha - Van village has a mud ball wrestling festival/ Nowhere in Kinh Bac has such festival / Fighting hard to win the ball / Playing ground is painted with the colour of mud and water"

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

The weather is hot but the matches still take place very fiercely.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Despite the fierce fighting atmosphere, to ensure the meaning of this game which is to worship for good weather and bumper crops, the organizing board has told the "fighters" not to make serious frictions.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

According to the elderly people in Van village, the mud ball wrestling festival existed very long ago, but it was interrupted by war for a long time. After the national unification, this game was restored but organized unregularly. Since 2002, according to village regulations, the locality holds the festival in every 4 years.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Slippery muddy ground makes it difficult for the fighters to win the ball.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Viewing the match from above.

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather,  unique festival,  muddy surface

Foreigners are also present at the festival.

 

Nguyen Huong

Bac Giang province, Van village, mud ball, wrestling festival, wet rice culture, bumper harvests, good weather, "unique" festival, muddy surface
 
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