Unique Kate Festival of the Cham people

06:00 | 18/07/2021 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - Kate Festival, also known as Mbang Kate, is one of the most important events of the Cham people who flourished in south-central Vietnam from the 4th to 13th centuries. 

The three-day festival in Ninh Thuan Province begins on the 30th day of the sixth month according to the Cham calendar (around late September or early October according to the solar calendar). The event is held at the three Champa Towers - Po Nagar, Po Klong Garai and Po Rome. The main purpose of the festival is to commemorate Cham heroes like Po Klong Garai and Po Rome, and also deaths in families. Moreover, the festival is a chance for the local people to relax, to meet and wish one another good fortune in the future.

The rituals begin with ceremonies to welcome costumes, the opening of the temple gates, “bathing” the statues of the gods and changing their costumes. The main ceremony includes offerings of goat meat, chicken, rice, wine, fruit and more. When the sacred dances end, boisterous parties are held until the evening of the second festival day.

The last day of Kate takes place in villages, where offerings are made at the village community house, and prayers are sent. Those performing these acts are widely respected among villagers and are proficient at traditional customs. On behalf of their community, they communicate with the gods (which vary at different villages) - offering them oblations and asking for luck for their people. This is followed by games, weaving competitions, playing soccer and performances of folk songs.

Kate provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the beauty of the Cham culture, from its well preserved ancient architecture to its costumes, instruments and traditional songs used to praise their kings in the past.

Pham Tiep