Splendid Na Hau forest festival

  •  Sunday, March 10, 2024

YênBái - Forest offering ceremonies, also known as forest festivals, were simultaneously held across sacred forests in Na Hau commune, Van Yen district on March 9 morning or the 29th day of the first month in the lunar calendar.

A forest offering ceremony takes place under the canopy of ancient trees.
A forest offering ceremony takes place under the canopy of ancient trees.

The ceremonies encapsulate the spiritual beliefs of the Mong ethnic people, passed down through generations. Every village of Na Hau houses a sacred forest situated in the most favourable location. Brimming with the spiritual essence of heaven and earth, the wood is where offerings are made to the forest deity with "inviolable" rules.

According to Mong people’s beliefs, the areas serve as protective shields for the local community against harsh winds and floods, providing food and water sources for their living and irrigation and nurturing the fertility of their fields. Preserving lush forests is a way to ensure the constant well-being and wealth of local residents.

Every year, on the last day of the first lunar month, people of the villages gather at their respective sacred forests to organise the offering ceremonies, which are considered the ethnic group’s most significant traditional ritual to seek blessings from the god for a life of fulfilment. They are also an occasion for the communities to plan forest conservation efforts for the year ahead.

Villagers gather for a festive meal and pledge to protect the forest.

Following the festivals, in accordance with traditional customs, the villages impose a three-day forest prohibition to express gratitude to the deity. During these days, people strictly adhere to a number of rules, including refraining from entering the forest to cut trees, bringing green leaves home, digging roots, breaking bamboo shoots, digging soil, releasing livestock, drying clothes outdoors, grinding corn, and pounding rice.

The sacred and unique traditional ritual, deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the Mong people, coupled with their love for the forests, have been passed down from generation to generation. It is also an opportunity for every individual, including visitors, to appreciate each tree and each forest as well as to cultivate environmental awareness, fostering a green, harmonious, and culturally rich life.

Duc Toan