The continuous sound of drums and the constant cheers of the viewers at each competition, the match have shown the appeal of the folk games. Having the opportunity to come to the festivals in Hoa Binh, visitors will be fascinated by the form of entertainment containing good traditional cultural values.


The women from Muong Vo region are participating in Mang (array playing) folk games at the Fesstival of Khu Dung Buddha Procession in Nhan Nghia commune (Lac Son). 

In the early days of Spring, many localities in the province celebrate the festival season, creating an exciting and joyful atmosphere, meeting the needs of the spiritual life in the community. In addition to the important rituals and ceremonies in the festival, it cannot lack the festival as well as the inclusion of popular folk games such as cotton ball throwing, stick pushing, array playing, tug of war, sack jumping, walking on stilts, playing drums blindfolded... 

Along with the stream of people flocking to Khai Ha Fesstival of the Muong ethnic group in Hoa Binh province, the tourist Nguyen Quang Sac (Hanoi City) excitedly says: I feel very happy and refreshed when witnessing and participating in the folk games at the festival. The most interesting one is walking on stilts and playing drums blindfolded, with the reward being the endless applause and laughter from everyone. 

At Gau Tao Festival of Mong ethnic people in two communes, Pa Co and Hang Kia (Mai Chau), the folk games such as throwing Pao, Tu Lu and walking on stilts attract the participation of a large number of people and tourists regardless of gender and age discrimination. The most special game is throwing Pao. The players are divided into 2 sides, male and female, the distance between the two teams is from 5 to 7 meters. Through the game, the dexterity of the person throwing Pao is tested, not letting Pao ball fall to the ground, throwing until the eyes are close and they can catch the pound thrown by the other person. The playing teams often agree with each other on the number of throws and the number of catches. The losing side must sing a song or do something prescribed by the winning side. 

Coming to Khai Ha Fesstival in Muong Thang in the Gragon Spring, hundreds of tourists eagerly participated and experienced the cotton ball throwing of Muong ethnic people. "Con” tree is made from bamboo trunks with a height of about 20 meters. The top of the tree is bent into an arc being attached with a red center paper so that the cotton ball can be tossed into the circle. According to belief, the person tossing the cotton ball high can bring away risks, illness, yellowing, and withering of the fruit tree. After going to heaven, the cotton ball falls down, the person receiving it also receives luck, goodness, greenness, bringing happiness, fortune, and longevity for a peaceful and prosperous new year. During the festival praying for good harvets, this game also represents the wish for yin and yang to harmonize, the life to flourish, and harvests to be abundant. 

Especially, today some familiar folk games have developed into the national sports. Not only being present in the traditional festivals, tug-of-war, tag, array playing, cotton ball throwing have also been chosen as the competition content at the Sports Congresses at all levels, the provincial, regional, and national tournaments. For example, at the 7th Sports Congress in 2021 of Lac Son district, array playing and the traditional wrestling were included in the official competition. These are also the two popular folk games that are maintained and present during the festivals, associated with the Spring festival activities of the communal clusters and Muong Vang region. In recent years, at the provincial and district levels, the annual tournaments have been organized, specifically the championship of crossbow shooting, tug of war and stick pushing are included in the province's sports tournament system. Many promising faces and talents in the national sports have been discovered, nurtured and became the core athletes, contributing the proud achievements to the province's sports. 

According to Mr. Luu Huy Linh, the Deputy Director in charge of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, folk games included in the festival have profound spiritual significance in preserving and promoting the traditional values, honoring the cultural beauty and cohesion of the national community. On the other hand, when it develops into a sport and becomes an official competition, it will encourage and promote the movement of sports practice and improve the health among the people. Currently, a number of folk games are also put into experience in the tourism areas and attractions in the province, becoming new products and attractive playgrounds to meet the entertainment needs of tourists. Thereby, it has been contributing to introducing and promoting the unique culture of the ethnic groups, becoming one of the "specialties” that attracts domestic and international tourists.


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