Fri, 13 Mar 2015. Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:02
Hoa Ban Festival or Bauhinia Flower Festival is a festival to pray for rain to have a good harvest, to pray for best wishes to local people (Thai ethnic people) in the Northwest. The festival is also an occasion to report to the heaven and to the ancestors about results of working, producing, and living in the last year. According to Thai ethnic people, Bauhinia Flower (Hoa Ban) not just symbolizes love, but also filial piety and gratitude. In the language of Thai ethnic people, "ban" means beautiful and "delicious". That all delicious and beautiful is called "ban" by local people. The festival has a great significance to Thai ethnic people. It is the opportunity for them to wish a good harvest and good weather. The festival is often organized on the 5th day of the second lunar month when mountain-ebony flowers are blooming in the Northwest.
Hoa Ban Festival is one of famous festivals in Vietnam of Thai ethnic group, especially in Northwest Vietnam. Since early morning of the festival, gong sound echoes throughout the mountains. Kitchens in houses of stilt are warmed with flickering flames to cook traditional dishes in the festival such as sticky rice, boiled chicken, bamboo shoots, and kill pigs. Many year-old small jars of wine are presented to treat friends and relatives. Boys and girls in beautiful traditional clothes invite each other to forests where there are many mountain-ebony flowers blooming. They choose the most beautiful flower branches to present their lovers and parents. In this festival, there are many exciting games attracting many talents of all villages. The festival will take place during 3 days. The ceremony is jubilant, dignified, and respectful with processions and worshiping ceremony to the heaven, the earth, and the supernatural forces. The festive part takes the majority of time with contests of shooting muskets, crossbows, Con throwing, and cock fighting... In particular, in the drum's sound of the festival and the circle of people continuously dancing Xoe are almost non-stop. For young generation in villages, the last night was the best of fun. Amid the scenic vistas of mountains, singing competitions with Khen (a unique traditional music instrument of locals) and flute last until midnight. By dint of the festival, many young men and women become couples. Therefore, the last night will leave the most memories.
The ceremony rite of Bauhinia Flower Festival in Vietnam includes offerings as a pig, some branches of mountain-ebony flowers, mountain-ebony flowers, bottle of wine, two bowls of rice, two bowls of ripe rice, some incense, betel and areca. The festive part becomes more interesting with exciting activities of young men and women. Men will blow Khen, and women will dance. Men try to climb mountain-ebony tree to pick flowers. Each tree has 5 to 6 climbing. On the ground, young women use basket to get flowers. If one lady get that flower from a man, it means that the man like her. And, vice versa, laday will try to get flowers of the man whom she likes. This festival not only attracts the participation of Thai people, but also different ethnic groups and visitors. Now, the festival is not just held in a specific village, but also in the entire Northwest where mountain-ebony flowers forests appear, which marks a new beginning for a spring season of cultivation abd hoeing fields. Therefore, Bauhinia Flower Festival is also linked to the wishes of local people in the northwest - the convergence of many ethnic minorities living in Vietnam with outstanding Vietnam culture.
Many interesting activities like Xoe dancing, culinary contest, fishing contest, bird fighting, cock fighting, tug, and other traditional games are starred in this unique festival. If visitors want to travel in spring, such cultural events as Bauhinia Flower Festival will be an interesting choice. The festival appeals thousands of locals, domestic and international visitors. Participating the festival, people will have chances to enjoy interesting programs such as art performance, culinary contest, and other activities. Todays, Bauhinia Flower Festival is being added with more activities. The festival is held to exchange and reserve culture in the northwest region in particular and culture in Vietnam in general. At the same time, it is an opportunity to promulgate unique cultural feature of ethnic groups in the northwest to both local and international visitors.