7 Typical Festivals of Minorities in Sapa
1. Roong Pooc Festival of the Giay
In every February in lunar calendar, the Giay in Ta Van open Roong Pooc Festival, wishing a fruitful season, prosperous life and favourable weather. This traditional festival of the Giay in Muong Hoa has recently become the common festival of people in Muong Hoa Valley. In this festival, besides the unique rituals, there are a lot of attractive games and traditional art performances.
This traditional festival of the Giay in Muong Hoa
2. Nao Cong Festival
On the Dragon day of June in lunar calendar, the Hmong, the Dao and the Giay in the villages of Muong Hoa Valley gather at the temple in Ta Van Village, organising Nao Cong Festival. Each family appoints a representative regardless of age or gender. Lao Cong Festival takes place with an aim of wishing for a peaceful life and fruitful harvest. Besides, in this festival, the heads of the villages will declare the general regulations. The festival then ends up in a merry party.
3. Dancing Festival
Tet Nhay is an important festival of the Dao in Ta Van which is carefully prepared and organized in the first and second days of Tet Holiday. The main content of the festival is spraying for a peaceful and prosperous life and learn about our tradition of gratefulness. The festival’s activities are so special and unique including 14 dances of some selected boy or some rituals practised by the shaman.
Tet Nhay is an important festival of the Dao in Ta Van
4. Nhan Song and Nao Song Festivals
These are the two festivals of the Red Dao in Giang Ta Chai Village (Ta Van, Sapa) which aim at educating the locals to prevent deforestation. Currently, only in the year when deforestation takes place often and cattle are set free and destroy the crops, do the Dao organize this festival. in the festival, the head appointed by the locals shall state the regulation in preventing deforestation and punish anyone who violates them. After the discussion of the people, the leader concludes to create the village’s rule that everyone must follow voluntarily.
The Hmong in Seo Mi Ty, Den Thang Ta or Lao Chai, Hau Thao also have the same festival as above with the name of “Nao Song” which often happens on the Dragon day of January in lunar calendar. the regulations in Nao Song Festival of the Hmong is extended in comparison to those of the Dao. Besides forest protection and cattle keeping, the festival also mentions some matters of robber prevention, crops protection and mutual assistance.
5. Village cleaning festival of the Xa Pho
Annually, the Xa Pho often organise their village cleaning festival on the Horse day or Goat day in February in lunar calendar, aiming at having a happy new year with peaceful life, fruitful crops and healthy cattle. In this festival, the locals give pork, chicken, goat, dog, rice and so on to make a worshipping tray .the shaman practises rituals in the festival. Finally, the locals enjoy the meal merrily. Those foods must be eat well without being brought into the village.
6. Gau Tao Festival of the Hmong
Gau Tao is a traditional festival of the H’mong and has been preserved by the Hmong in Muong Khuong, Bac Ha, Si Ma districts and Phong Hai town of Lao Cai province. Normally, when a Hmong family has no children, very few children, has only son or only daughter, someone ill or unfavourable job, they will go to Gau Tao Hill to pray god for what they want. When their wishes come true, they celebrate Gau Tao Festival to express their gratefulness to Gods. The festival often takes place in new year’s time.
Gau Tao is a traditional festival of the H’mong
7. "Xuong Dong" festival in Sa Pa – Lao Cai
Xuong dong (Going to field) festival is held in the spring, in the morning of the 8th in Tet Holiday annually by the Tay and the Dao. The festival begins with land ceremony , water ceremony then communication ceremony with deities. During the festival, Participants can watch a magician on traditional costumes carrying out rituals on behalf of the whole community. This activity aims at praying Saint Tan for abundant harvests. The attendants can drink Ruou Can (pipe-wine) free in the huts or join in activities during the festivals. The interesting thing is that the starting time of the festival is not fixed but depends on the result of hunting and fishing work of the villagers. After such activities the beginning date will be decided and of course, the festival will be started by the ritual of worship.
The festival to go to the fields of Dzao in Sapa is held in spring.