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Annually, late August of lunar calendar or middle October of solar calendar is the
time when the crops are harvested, and a new rice crop begins. It’s also the time for Khmer
people in Tri Ton and Tinh Bien (An Giang province) to celebrate the traditional Dolta
Dolta is the traditional ceremony of Khmer people to pay their respect to their
ancestors. They gather into pagodas with a lot of food to commemorate their ancestors and
pray the gods for the good crops. Besides, they organize some exciting activities on these
days. And the most attractive event is the ox-racing festival.
Previously, the ox-racing festival was for pleasure among local Khmer people after
crops. But it has been invested in more and more, and has become the An Giang traditional
festival. Moreover, it has attracted a lot of people (both the Khmer people and the Kinh
people) because of its extent and form. The more extended it is, the more attractive it gets.
The ox-racing festival is organized on a flat rice field about 200 meters long and 100
meters wide. The rice field used for the ox racing festival must be muddy with the racing
path of 120 meters long and 6 meters wide. The race includes 2 rounds. The first round is
“Vòng Hô”, which is called “performing round”, and the controllers (cowboys) manage the
oxen pairs to circle the field twice without getting out of the lines or stepping on the front
pair’s harrow. The second round is “Vòng Thả”, the main round, which is signaled by the
referee. The controllers holding a stick (Xa-lul) with sharp point will hit the oxen to make
them run as fast as they can. In addition, they must know how to make the two oxen run at
the same speed because the farmers use the best oxen for the race. The winner is the pair
which gets the the “Finish” first without violating the rules.
(The Ox-Racing Festival in action:
That's an annual event organized
on the Pchum Ben / Don Ta
ceremony (September-October).
More than 30.000 vietnamese and
khmer people participate in the
Festival in Tri Ton this year (on
October 5th 2010). That's the 19th
On the main day of the race, a lot of people living in the area will come to attend the
race. They also bring food in order to be able to stay experience from the beginning to the
end of the race. These recent years, the number of the racing oxen has got to 70 pairs (19 th
festival, 2010 – 78 pairs: districts around An Giang; Hon Dat, Kien Luong from Kien Giang;
some from Combodia).
According to Khmer people’s conception, the ox-racing festival has a very special
meaning. It brings not only the happiness and the pride to the winning pair owner, but also
the wealth and prosperity to the winning village. So, if you have a chance, you should have a
trip to An Giang to enjoy unforgettable festivals, especially the ox-racing festival. Welcome
all visitors to our fertile and comfortable land, seven-mountain area in An Giang.
Phụ lục: Các hình ảnh được sưu tầm từ internet, giới thiệu về các lễ hội truyền thống ở An
Giang, đặc biệt về Lễ Dolta và Lễ hội đua bò Bảy Núi – An Giang.