The festival is also known as Cha Chien or Xang Khan, meaning “singing and dancing to celebrate under the cotton tree”.
The Thai ethnic people regard the festival to be a communal cultural activity in which everyone in the village has the right to participate in and enjoy the event.
The festival is divided into two separate parts.
The ceremonial part consists of rituals involving worshiping the gods, the essential prose told by a shaman about the establishment of the village, thereby praising ancestors and people with meritorious services.
The festival part is a system of 26 to 50 acts performed by a shaman, or “guests”, such as chopping firewood, farming, sword dancing, sweeping the home, and playing the flute. Indeed, it is thought that each activity involves a god from Muong Troi coming down from heaven to participate.
Furthermore, there is a part that involves playing traditional musical instruments such as gongs, khua luong, drums, boong bu, and flutes.
A number of folk games, such as chop singing, bamboo dancing, array playing, tug of war, and cotton ball throwing, are also held during the course of the festival.
According to Le Van Luan, vice chairman of Xuan Phuc Commune People’s Committee, the festival represents a traditional cultural activity that has been practiced by the ethnic Thai community for a long time. It has been carefully nurtured, preserved, and developed by generations of Thai people throughout the nation’s history.
At present, the festival can be viewed as an indispensable party of culture in the life of the ethnic group, particularly as it features plenty of performance art.
In 2017, Xang Khan festival was recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage, contributing to the development of a Vietnamese culture deeply imbued with national identities.