YBO - In the early days of the traditional lunar New Year, crowds of visitors are flocking to Kha Linh communal house in Dai Minh commune, Yen Binh district, the northern province of Yen Bai, offering sticky rice, chicken, and fruits to the village god to pray for a peaceful and prosperous year for a spring festival.
The ritual of taking water at Mo Co well to worship at Kha Linh communal house in early spring days every year.
The elderly of the Nguyen family in Kha Linh hamlet recount that in the late 17th century, the family name of their ancestors could be Ngo. To avoid the chase by the imperial court and the civil war among feudal forces at that time, they chose to hide themselves and change their family name, while cultivating farms and setting up hamlets. The Nguyen family named the village Kha Linh because they want to relate to the sacred land of Nghia Linh mountain in northern Phu Tho province, where the Hung Kings’ temple is located.
According to historical records, Kha Linh communal house was built in the 18th century with four-sided walls. It is located in Kha Linh village, about 400 metres from the right bank of Chay river. The communal house worships Cao Son Dai Vuong (Saint Cao Son) and the village god who is the ancestor of the Nguyen family and contributed to the reclamation of land, cultivating paddy rice, planting grapefruit and establishing the village. There, Kha Linh villagers bravely stood side by side with the Can Vuong insurgents to dig trenches to block the French invaders at the end of the 19th century.
On the success of the August Revolution in 1945, a red flag with a golden star was hung in front of the communal house at the launching ceremony of the communal revolutionary administration. On January 6, 1946, people eagerly went to the communal house to cast the votes in the first National Assembly election of Vietnam.
In 2014, Yen Bai authorities recognised Kha Linh communal house as a provincial historical-architecture relic site. Since then, the village spring festival is held annually on the sixth and seventh day of the first lunar month, and the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
Offerings include fruits, betel leaves and areca nuts, chicken and pork. To prepare for the procession of water into the communal house, 13 strong locals will be selected and dressed in the newest and nicest traditional costumes. The ritual of taking water is held at Mo Co well. This is a sacred source of water that has brought bumper crops and sweet grapefruits for locals.
The offering ceremony is performed in about one hour in a solemn and respectful atmosphere, in harmony with the melodious music of ethnic instruments such as flute, monochord, and drum. After the ceremony, the village will host various activities such as playing drums, tug of war, stick pushing, chess, and volleyball.
The festival has become a rendezvous for locals and visitors, which aims to preserve and promote traditional cultural and spiritual values.
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