Ngo festival – The biggest festival of Cong ethnic people in Lai Chau

NDO – ‘Ngo’(Corn) festival, also known as the “rainy season” festival, is the biggest traditional festival of the year for the Cong ethnic people in Lai Chau province.


The festival falls between the end of the fifth lunar month and the early of the sixth lunar month, when the corn-harvesting season begins.

Like their neighbours in Nam Khao village, Nam Khao commune, Muong Te district, Chang Van San and his wife went to the forest early in the morning to cut down bamboo, which was then split to make baskets.

San said that he and his wife are happy to weave baskets themselves, which are then used to contain traditional cakes as gifts from the elders to the children in the family.

In the morning of the first day of the sixth lunar month, Ly Van So woke up early and urged his family members to go to the spring near his house for bathing, which is believed to wash away all bad things and help people enter a New Year full of luck and prosperity.

So also carried water from the spring to his house as an offering to the ancestors.

Since there are a lot of things to prepare ahead the festival, a family meeting is held to assign tasks for each member so that the festival will be celebrated in a proper manner.

A tray of offerings to the ancestors is an indispensable part of the preparation. The tray includes three parts of a pig: head, feet and tail; dishes made from corn such as corn cake, corn rice, corn wine; mushroom, vegetable, grilled fishes, and 12 crabs, which represent the 12 months of the year.

The tray is offered to the ancestors on the first day of the festival. After that, people make visits to each other, during which the host and the guest make a toast, enjoy local dishes, and wish each other a New Year full of luck, prosperity and peace.

During the festival, Cong people also gather at the village’s cultural house to join folk dances and songs in celebration of a happy New Year.