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Running with the oxen, a Khmer tradition

An oxen race held in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang is part of an ancestor honoring festival of the Khmer people.

Thousands of Khmer people recently gathered in a festive mood at the rice fields behind the Ro Pagoda in Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province. The Sene Dolta Festival is a major event for the Khmer, a time when the ethnic minority group honor their ancestors with traditional rituals and social activities, including the oxen race.

Running with the oxen, Khmer tradition, An Giang province, Khmer people, festive mood, rice fields

Thousands of Khmer people recently gathered in a festive mood at the rice fields behind the Ro Pagoda in Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province.

The festival annually takes place from the 29th day of the eighth month to the first day of the nineth month in the Khmer’s lunar calendar. This year, 24 teams participated in the oxen race. The picture shows the teams getting ready for the race.

Some oxen are decorated with a checked scarf, an iconic accessory of southern Vietnamese people’s attire. The oxen entered in the contest this year are neck-to-neck.

Running with the oxen, Khmer tradition, An Giang province, Khmer people, festive mood, rice fields

Two pairs of oxen race towards their destination to the cheers of spectators and loud festive music.

The Khmer believe that the winning oxen will bring joy and good luck with a fruitful harvest. The winning oxen are not sold but cared for as prized assets by the family who own them.

The festival in general and the race in particular attract a flock of photographers every year. This year’s festival celebration was considered a success, thanks to the month-long preparations by the local government, monks at the Ro Pagoda and other stakeholders. It received support from many donors willing to contribute to preserving the local culture.

Running with the oxen, Khmer tradition, An Giang province, Khmer people, festive mood, rice fields

Novice monks plant new rice where the oxen race was held.

Oxen were not the only racers in the festival. They were pursued in right earnest by many kids having a fun time with a race of their own.

After the oxen race which took place from the morning till noon, monks of Ro Pagoda (seen in the picture) and some farmers planted rice on the field tilled by the oxen by participating in the race.

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Source: VnExpress

Running with the oxen, Khmer tradition, An Giang province, Khmer people, festive mood, rice fields
 
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