13:00 | 12/06/2022 Culture & Tourism
(VEN) - Once in four years, in the fourth lunar month, Yen Vien Village in the northern province of Bac Giang holds a three-day mud ball festival. The festival in Van Ha Commune of Viet Yen District conveys people’s hopes for good weather and a bountiful harvest.
The game is played on a yard filled with liquid mud. Two holes, measuring 80cm deep and 50cm wide, are dug at both ends of the yard, for the goals.
The game is played by 16 local men divided into two teams who try to score by pushing the ball into the goal hole of their opponents.
The ball used in the game is made of ironwood, measuring 20kg in weight and 40cm in diameter. It is kept in the communal house and has been passed down from generation to generation.
People believe that each push of the ball into the pit symbolizes the harmony of the earth and heaven, good weather, and a bumper harvest.
The festival has been named among 19 national intangible cultural heritages, according to a recent decision of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
According to the elderly residents of Yen Vien Village, the mud ball festival is a time-honored practice which used to be held annually, but was interrupted by wars. After the national unification, this game was resumed but took place irregularly. Since 2002, according to village regulations, it is held every four years.
Chin An Dung