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Van village's mud ball wrestling festival recognised as national intangible cultural heritage

(BGO) - On May 12 (the 12th day of the fourth lunar month), in Yen Vien village of Van Ha commune, the People's Committee of Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province held a ceremony to announce a decision recognizing the mud ball wrestling festival of Van village as a national intangible cultural heritage.

Legend has it that in the past, Saints Tam Giang namely Truong Hong, Truong Hat, Truong Lung, and Truong Lay followed Trieu Quang Phuc to fight the Liang invaders (the 6th century). When they defeated the Liang army and returned to Da Trach lagoon, they were attacked by black demons in the lagoon. The demons set a condition that if they win, they must be given a large reward; and if they lose, they will submit to Saints Tam Giang.

Van village, mud ball wrestling festival, national intangible cultural heritage, Bac  Giang province, Saints Tam Giang, celebrate the victory

Under the authorization of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the representative of the ministry’s Department of Cultural Heritage presents the certificate recognizing the mud ball wrestling festival of Van village as a national intangible cultural heritage to local officials and people.

In the end, the black demons lost the battle and had to submit to Saints Tam Giang. Van villagers opened a ball wrestling festival to celebrate the victory. There are two teams, one representing the troops of Saints Tam Giang and the other representing the demons.

The mud ball wrestling festival means a celebration of victory and also expresses the aspiration of wet rice farmers for favorable weather and bumper harvests. According to the rules of the game, 16 healthy young men participating in the wrestling festival are divided into two teams (8 people each), called the upper and lower teams. The festival is held on a muddy pitch of about 200sq.m, with two holes at its two ends to push the ball into. Each time the ball is pushed into the hole is the end of a round.

On the 12th day, there are two matches (tie), on the 13th day three matches (2-1) and on the 14th day four matches (tie).

Previously, the festival was held every year, but it was suspended for a long time by war. After the national reunification, the festival was restored and it has been held once every four years since 2002.

Van village, mud ball wrestling festival, national intangible cultural heritage, Bac  Giang province, Saints Tam Giang, celebrate the victory

A mud ball wrestling competition in the festival.

With its historical and cultural meaning and uniqueness, on January 12, 2022, the mud ball wrestling festival in Van village (Van Ha commune, Viet Yen district) was included in the list of national intangible cultural heritages according to Decision No. 63/QD-BVHTTDL of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

At the ceremony, authorized by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the representative of the ministry’s Department of Cultural Heritage presented the certificate recognizing the mud ball wrestling festival of Van village as a national intangible cultural heritage to local officials and people.

Right after the announcement ceremony, the first match took place. This year, the festival is being held from May 12 to 14. In addition to the mud ball besides mud ball wrestling competitions, there are also a number of activities such as Quan ho singing festival, folk games, an exhibition displaying craft village products in association with promoting tourism and tourism products in the locality.

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Van village, mud ball wrestling festival, national intangible cultural heritage, Bac Giang province, Saints Tam Giang, celebrate the victory
 
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