From May to July, Lung Van has hundreds of streams and waterfalls pouring from the peak of mountains, forming imposing
scenery in Lung Van. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP
The Muong people in Lung Van still organise many traditional festivals such as Na Mu (protecting a new born child), Nhom lua (fire setting), Xuong dong (starting a new crop) and Rua la lua (washing the rice leaf), which reflect their cultural life. Each festival is a depiction of ancient Muong society. Among them, Khai ha (ceremony to end the Tet Holiday) and Com moi (praying God at the beginning of a harvest) are the two most important ones. »
Lung Van is now still unfamiliar to many people because it is surrounded by deep blue mountains and is very far from the main road. It has still kept intact many traditional cultural and architectural features, such as tortoise-shaped roofs and Muong women’s dresses which are black and decorated with colourful patterns. Today their dresses are made shorter, suitable for working, however all delicate patterns remain unchanged.
This land is related to many fairy tales and is called the land of longevity because there are many people more than 100 years old who are still healthy. At the age of 90-100, they still work to help their grandchildren. It is believed that the locals’ longevity is due to the water from streams in the region, their good and simple lifestyle and airy and pure atmosphere.
In his notes about culture of Muong areas, culturist Phan Cam Thuong emphasised the difficulties in travelling to the region and the locals’ self-sufficient life. The locals go to their market for entertainment and sometimes exchange their products, such as brocade, woven products, fruit and vegetables. The locals have little money and some have no money.
Lung Van is most beautiful after Tet, from February to April, because at that time it is covered by white clouds. It is also the time the Muong people prepare for a new crop on terraced fields – “A Giant Mirror of Muong Bi”. So far, they have maintained their traditional farming method. Ha Van Binh, an elder in Lung Van said: “We live rather separately so the method of growing rice is quite different from those who live in lower areas. We only start the crop when it rains and the terraced fields are submerged in ‘heaven’s water’. We sow rice by hand that results in low productivity, but is famous for its high quality and delicious taste. Therefore, in the past rice made in Lung Van was used as an offering to hamlet lords, so it is also called ‘the rice of the hamlet lord’.”
With a pure atmosphere, spectacular scenery and peaceful life, Lung Van is really an ideal place for those who want to escape the noisy urban life and discover the unique cultural features of the Muong ethnic people.