Giay people drum their way to prosperity

 The Giay ethnic people celebrate the Lunar New Year with a drum dancing festival to pray for a prosperous and happy New Year. The festival is held in the early morning hours of the first day of the Lunar New Year in Tat Nga Commune in Meo Vac District of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang.

giay people drum their way to prosperity

Preparation begins with a shaman accompanied by unmarried men preparing for a ritual to lower the drum from Mieu Ba Temple and bring it to Mieu Ong Temple for the festival.

After some rituals, the drum is passed around the village. When passing through a house, the drum is beaten to sound a prayer for peace and luck for the owner of the house. After that, the drum dance ritual begins.

The drum dance festival is a unique aspect of the Giay culture in Ha Giang. The festival takes place in front of Mieu Ong Temple. The drum is carried by the healthiest young people in the village, followed by others lining up to create an atmosphere of solidarity and joy. Everyone, locals and visitors, can join the drum dance. Five or six professional couples start the dance, followed by other people, creating a long line.

Young boys and girls in traditional costumes join the dance. The line gets longer and longer as more revelers dance to pray for a lucky and happy New Year. At the end of the festival, the villagers come together to bring the drum back to Mieu Ba Temple.

The festival has been added to the list of national intangible cultural heritages.

Pham Tiep