Ly Son - Sa Huynh Geopark

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Boats of holy beasts in race in Ly Son

During five days of Tet, thousands of people on Ly Son island seem to do or talk nothing rather than boat racing. This explains how meaningful this event is to them.
Boats of holy beasts in race in Ly Son
As tradition goes, the boat racing competitions started on the fourth day of Tet in An Hai and An Vinh fishing communities. The event lasted for four days in these two communities and the last round took place on the fifth day for the winners.The race attracted thousands of on-lookers from local residents and tourists.

All the boats were colorfully decorated in the shape of Four Holy Beasts, including Dragon, Lion, Turtle and Phoenix. Each rowing team has 24 boatmen selected from the fishing villages. Among the selection criteria, they shall be very experienced and skilled.

Before the race, old men in the communities practiced diffirent rituals in the village temples praying for good luck to the communities and favorable weather conditions for fishing.

Each racing route is about 1 kilometer long, right in the front of the respective village temple. Due to different elements of water flow and wind, four teams took turns in different positions in four days to find out the winner.

Thousands of viewers made themselves available to the event as they believed that the winning boat would bring good luck to the whole community. After hash competitions during five days, the Dragon boat from An Hai community was the champion of this year.

Boat racing festival on Ly Son was recorded as long as in 1826 and has been deeply ingrained in the conscousness of fishing communities on the island. The event brings relaxing moments, preserves traditional cultural values as well as strengthens community spirit and solidarity. It is said that the local authorities are applying for the recognition of intangible cultural heritage for the boat racing festival.

 
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Rituals prior to the boat race
 
viewers
Thousands of spectators waiting for the race
 
eyes
Eyes on the race
 
on the race
Motion in the race

Author: Dzung Nguyen

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