Sapa Festivals

As a result of the ethnic diversity in Sapa, there are many cultural festivals throughout the year. The majority of the ethnic groups of Vietnam believe in worshipping the spirits of ancestors and certain other spirits who are believed to control different phenomena such as the weather or crops. As well as influencing daily rituals, there are also many colourful and exciting festivals to worship and give thanks to these spirits.

Roong Pooc Festival originated from the Giay ethnic group and is celebrated in early January according to the lunar calendar. It takes place in Ta Van Village, drawing crowds from the villages all around. It has now become the biggest of all the festivals in Muong Ha Valley with thousands of people attending each year. The festival celebrates Mother Land and prays for a prosperous crop in the upcoming farming season. As well as the traditional rituals of worship, the people enjoy traditional games, song and dance. People are reunited with old friends and the younger generation take the chance to look for a suitable husband or wife. The jovial atmosphere is complemented with feasts of delicious food and drink, making for one of the most anticipated social events of the year.

Nao Cong Festival, which takes place in June of the lunar calendar, is attended by people from the Hmong, Dao and Giay villages in Moung Hoa Valley. Each family sends one representative to the festival to pray for the second crop of the year. It is believed by paying their respects to the correct spirits, they will ensure favourable conditions and good crops.

Tet Nhay Festival is a Dao celebration held during the national holiday of Tet, which is celebrated throughout Vietnam. On the second day of the Tet Festival, the Dao people gather in Ta Van to give thanks to their gods and pray for happiness in the upcoming year. The highlight of the festival is a ceremonial dance which is performed around a central altar. There are also many different cultural activities during the festival including papercraft and sculpting.

Gau Tau is a Hmong festival which is organised by individual families within the community. During the celebration, the family invites the village shaman to help them express gratitude to the gods and ancestors and to pray for wealth and happiness. After them completion of the ceremony, the whole village joins together to celebrate with traditional sporting and dance competitions all to the soundtrack of music played on traditional instruments.
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