Early in the morning of the tenth day of the first lunar month [January 31]], the sound of drums and the smell of incense awakened the people of Bung and drew them to the local traditional wrestling competition.

Once a year, the Bung Village Wrestling Festival is held to commemorate General Phung Thanh Hoa who ruled the village under the regime of King Ly Nam De (544 to 548).

Wrestling matches are now a popular attraction at many festivals across the country, but the one in Bung Village has a long history and still holds many traditions.

Wrestlers are half-necked and wear a small silk belts in different colors. They must follow strict rules of engagement.

After a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the people of Bung are excited to join in the traditional competition.

The bout is held every year to maintain the tradition of the village and offers its inhabitants and visitors to the region moments of recreation during the Lunar New Year. 

 “This is not just for fun, but also to encourage the youth of the commune to exercise regularly for good health,” Nguyen Van Tuyen, 62, from Bung village, told The Hanoi Times.

The wrestlers are villagers from Bung or neighboring villages. They are divided into four categories: children, adolescents, youth, and middle-aged wrestlers.

Competitors must fight according to the traditional rules, which require that a competitor must not kick, punch or strangle his opponent. Any harmful attack on the opponent will be stopped by the match referee and rule violators will be sent off.

The game is cheered by drum beats and applauses by a commentator who has expertise in traditional wrestling rules.

The local wrestling competition also aims to select excellent wrestlers for upcoming local or national wrestling tournaments.