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Gau Tao Festival will become new tourism product in Lao Cai

Thu, 22 Jan 2015. Last updated Thu, 18 Jun 2015 14:30

In order to diversify tourism activities and simultaneously introduce unique cultural identity of Hmong ethnic groups in Lao Cai, from February 28th, Lao Cai Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism will put Gau Tao Festival to test in Bac Ha District.

It is expected that the testing Gau Tao Festival will attract the attendance of Hmong communities not only in Lao Cai but also in other provinces of Northwest Vietnam such as Ha Giang, Yen Bai, and Lai Chau. Traveling Lao Cai at that time, tourists will have a great chance to discover specially traditional culture of Hmong people in Northwest on the occasion of spring and Lunar New Year is coming. Gau Tao means recreation place in Hmong language, therefore, participating in Gau Tao Festival, tourists can join in many exciting folk games such as tug of war, traditional dances and singings, climbing to the pole...


Traditional dances and sings in Gau Tao Festival


Gau Tao Festival is one of traditional festivals of Hmong community in Lao Cai Province. The festival is held with the belief and the hope of prosperity and happiness. The festival often takes place on household scale with the positive response of Hmong community. Normally, when a Hmong family meeting troubles in health, work, or relationship, they often pray to God for good health, luck, happiness, and prosperity. If their prayers become a reality, they will hold Gau Tao Festival to give thanks to God. According to Hmong customs, the festival will take place in three days in three consecutive spring seasons. More interestingly, it will be held by three families related by blood or connexion and having the same contexts. Location for organizing Gau Tao is called Hau Tao (Doi Hoi). Hau Tao is a small and low hill with flat top creating a roomy space. It is surrounded by higher hills. According to Hmong's belief, Hau Tao hill represents for the fate of a landlord. Besides, higher hills symbolize for the development and the prosperity of the family generations.


Hmong girls in traditional costumes


Gau Tao is one of big festivasl in Lao Cai in particular and northwest in general. The festival is associated with Hmong people in Vietnam. To confirm the historical and cultural values of Gau Tao Festival and the necessity of protecting and promoting this cultural heritage, in December 2012, Vietnam Department of Culture, Sport, and Tourism listed Gau Tao in National Intangible Cultural Heritage. The successful test of Gau Tao Festival will  will create the basis for Lao Cai province to develop the festival become a new attractive tourism product in order to preserve Hmong traditionally cultural values and simultaneously attract foreign tourists visiting Lao Cai.

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