The special ceremony features enthusiastic boys who engage in lively shouts, creating an atmosphere of excitement and joy among the attendees.

The ghost expelling ritual is a highly anticipated event in the Phu La community. Held annually on the 30th day of the second lunar month, it sees widespread participation from residents throughout the village. Each house in the community takes part in this significant occasion.

The ceremony commences at the residence of the village chief, serving as the initial location. Symbolic offerings consist of two white and red chickens, alongside a dog. Prior to the ritual, male members of the Phu La community engage in gathering grass and skillfully braiding it into protective ropes, ensuring the warding off of any supernatural spirits. Additionally, branches are intricately carved into both large and small swords, further enriching the ceremonial preparations.

Giang Quai Pha, the village head of Ta Chai commune, has revealed that there is only one specific type of grass and tree found in the Phu La forest or garden that is suitable for the art of braiding and hewing swords.

At the break of dawn, individuals diligently prepare elaborate offerings.

Individuals present offerings by placing them in a designated tray.

The men expertly craft swords and skillfully insert them into the intricately woven grass.

The large swords have been meticulously crafted and artistically adorned.

Huy Pham's photo

The offerings have been prepared.

The members of the delegation depart from the initial residence to proceed with their visits to other locations.

In this traditional custom, women are required to remain outside the premises while men carry out the sacred practice of exorcising supernatural entities.

The boys energetically shout, brandishing their swords as they run throughout the house, courageously attempting to ward off any ghostly presence.

The performers of the ritual conduct a dynamic motion inside the central area, as they expertly dispel spirits in various sections of the house.

The tray of offerings is set outside the door, awaiting the magician’s completion of the ritual.

Magician’s Gratitude

Magician’s Gratitude

The magician engages in a ritual of burning incense as a gesture of profound gratitude to the heavens and the earth. This act signifies the magician’s deep appreciation and acknowledgment of the celestial and terrestrial forces that support and guide their magical endeavors. Through the smoke and fragrance of the incense, the magician expresses their reverence and seeks to maintain a harmonious relationship with the divine and natural elements of the universe.

Afterwards, a bowl of water will be poured and placed outside the doorway. The members of the delegation use dog blood to mark the house.

The delegation visits every home in the village.

The Delegation’s Visit to the Forest

The Delegation’s Visit to the Forest

The entire delegation, comprising of all villagers, embarked on a journey to the lush forest.

last rites ceremony photo

The ceremony for expelling ghosts has been successfully concluded. (Image: HUY PHAM)

Attendees eagerly anticipate the conclusion of the ritual in order to partake in the offerings. (Photo: HUY PHAM)