The My Long Whale Festival in Tra Vinh immerses visitors in a vibrant celebration steeped in local folklore and cultural heritage. Held annually in the quaint coastal village of My Long, this festival pays homage to the whale, revered as a guardian and symbol of prosperity by the local fishing communities.

Basic information about the Whale Festival in My Long

The Whale Festival is being held for the first time since 1917, according to the elders.

Legend of the festival

According to the veteran My Long fishermen, in the past, there used to be a lot of shark activity in the area. When fishermen ventured out to sea in sailing vessels during storms, many regrettably perished at the hands of sharks. In the middle of the sea season, fishermen organized the Whale Festival to perform the ceremony because whales saved or prevented sharks from eating them when the boat was near drowning. Initially, fishermen worshiped at the seashore, but in 1922, the Ba Chua Xu (Holy Mother of the Realm) Temple was constructed as a place of prayer.

The My Long Whale Festival is being held for the first time since 1917

When will the event take place?

The Whale Festival in My Long, Tra Vinh has long been considered one of the most important festivals taking place every year in Tra Vinh. It will be held from May 11 to May 12 according to the lunar calendar. The Whale Festival is conducted following custom, opulence, and courteous, and features a variety of thrilling, magnificent, and innovative traditional games that are well-planned and vibrant. It has been attracting large numbers of attendees from nearby provinces including Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, and Soc Trang in addition to My Long fishermen and residents of Tra Vinh province.

The celebration has long been considered one of the most important festivals in Tra Vinh

Meaning of the My Long Whale Festival

The purpose of the Whale Festival is to demonstrate the region's fishermen's sincere gratitude to the sea for providing the villages with a happy and prosperous life. The event expresses thanks to the Whale, known to the fisherman as Mr. Nam Hai in addition to hoping for good weather and calm seas. For seafarers, the Whale is their savior.

The event expresses the region's fishermen's sincere gratitude to the sea

How is the Whale Festival in My Long celebrated?

The festival is divided into 6 main parts. The Nam Hai ritual, which is held at 10 a.m. on the eleventh day of the fifth lunar month, is the festival's opening formal ceremony. The fleet of sea boats is led out to sea to make offerings by the ceremonial hosts, who are seated on the boat that had the most sea animals harvested the year prior.

The My Long Whale Festival is divided into 6 main parts

The celebration of the Lord of the Land of Nguyen Nhung included the scenario when father and son Quan Vu opened the way to take the Lord to the boat on the morning of the eleventh day of the fifth lunar month. The boat sailed out to sea with two boats on either side and other boats escorting the back. The shaman will recite the mantra and Mr. Chanh Bai will kneel and beg until the yin and yang hexagram is attained, and the boat will return.

The Lord of the Land of Nguyen Nhung ritual starts in the late afternoon when the sun is setting, and a village official will read documents. There are lots of exciting performances, one of them is the flower dance of co bong (cô bóng) from many places. They dance, sing, and offer things to the Lord.

A Ngu Phuong ceremony is held on the second day, which is May 12 in the lunar calendar. This time, the palanquin travels by road as it passes through My Long Market and nearby hamlets, playing drums in four different directions. According to tradition, people also put salt and rice in front of every house on both sides of the street to appease ghosts whom they fear may enter homes and cause disturbances.

A Ngu Phuong ceremony is held on the second day of the My Long Whale Festival

At noon on the 12th, the organizers put the roast pig on the boat. The boat's hull is built of bamboo slats and is adhered with colorful paper just like a real ship. The bottom of the boat is made of a banana tree. There are sailors and paper nautical accessories inside the ship. As the drum bell rang, the boat slowly slid along with the water. This ceremony ended with a drumbeat when the boat was no longer visible.

The My Long Whale Festival now includes numerous games to meet the amusement needs of the fisherman, such as stilt walking and musical performances that create a joyful atmosphere on festive days. These engaging activities not only add to the celebratory ambiance but also enhance the overall experience for attendees, ensuring that every moment spent at the festival is filled with excitement and delight.

The festival features games for fishermen's enjoyment

Thanks to rituals infused with national customs, the My Long Whale Festival has emerged as a unique cultural spectacle for locals, attracting a significant influx of both domestic and international tourists. Experience the festivities firsthand by visiting My Long in Tra Vinh and immersing yourself in this vibrant event.

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