Xa Ma festival in Hoang Chau village, Cat Hai district

Xa Ma Festival in Hoang Chau commune (belong to Cat Hai District) is held every year on June,10th (lunar calendar) and lasts for 3 days with several rituals traditional events, in commemoration of the Imperial Village and the gentle ancestors of Hoang Chau village.

According to the legend, Princess Lieu Hanh is one of the Four Immortals of Thanism, and also a leading figure in the Mother Goddesses belief, a symbol of prosperity. Because of her many merits in protecting a peaceful life and prosperity, as well as struggling against natural disasters and pirates, holy Princess Lieu Hanh has been worshiped at the communal house.

The two goddesses Tuyen Nghi and Bui Dai Vuong were high-ranking generals under the Later Le Dynasty, making great contributions to the fight against pirates, protecting local people in the coastal regions.

 
Before festival is opening, the local residents, whether working in any place far from their homeland must return to the festival with a reverence and pray for good luck to themselves and their families.
The focus of the festival is the Xa Ma ritual, also known as re-enact the ancient soldiers' training and practice scenes.The contest has two participating teams divided into two armor, each pulling a horse, each team has 12 to 15 people. Clinging to the wooden horse on a rolling platform was a healthy young man waving a flag while operating the team.

When the behest of the moderator, the two wooden horses are carried by the youth skillful, rhythmic man under control of the commander moved fastly circling the courtyard. When the Gongs emerged, the young mans dragged their horses around the communal house into a closed circle. The armor that brings the horse back to the front yard wins. The prize awarded to the winning team is only festive items. Both winners and losers go around with the cheers of the villagers and tourists; After that, everyone joined to drink wine, enjoy the holy fortune, and celebrate the next year festival.During the Xa Ma festival, both the spectator and the player felt very excited, as they were attending a real drill. Cheers resounded everywhere. The sound of Gongs and drums are boiling. This is truly a ritual filled with martial art, imbued with the folklore identity of the local people.

Due to the life associated with the sea, Hoang Chau Village is associated with spiritual and unique customs. The villagers said, during 3 days of festival, Imperial Village’s soul who established the village walked around the village to visit every families, take a look the innovation development of the homeland, and bless the villagers to be well-balanced, and has an abundant harvest.

The Xa Ma Festival – Hoang Chau Procession is a form of community-based cultural activities of spirituality and religious beliefs, contributing to the cohesion of the community and society. Throughout the festival, Hoang Chau people educate the next generations on their ancestors’ precious traditions on patriotism and hard work.

The festival is also a place to store precious historical data, helping historians to study more on the records of various dynasties, regarding distinguished historical figures worshiped by local people.
With these unique and valuable traditional folklore, in 2014, Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism ranked Hoang Chau communal house is national historical and cultural relics.

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