Tug of war game (Source: VNA)
Bac Ninh (VNA) – The northern province of Bac Ninh received a certificate recognising tug of war festival of Huu Chap village as a national intangible cultural heritage during a ceremony on February 11.

As one of the oldest festivals of the Kinh Bac region, the festival is held on the fourth day of the first lunar month. A worship ceremony takes place in the morning and the tug-of-war game is held in the afternoon.

Two bamboo poles are prepared by strong men over the age of 40, who are from happy families and have both sons and daughters. The players should be between 30 and 37 years old.

The straight bamboo poles have to be more than 20m long. They are then pierced and linked to each other with two shoulder poles. The connecting holes are tied with bamboo strings. The bamboos are then hung at the temple for worship.

Seventy strong men are divided into two teams that face the east and the west, respectively. The team that wins two of three rounds wins the game. In the third round, the audience can join the game as well.

People believe that if the team facing the east wins, it will bring bumper crops and good luck, and that the situation will be just the opposite if the team facing the west wins.

In the third round, many people join the team facing the east to help it win, following a typical belief of those who cultivate rice and worship the Sun God.

In the past few years, the local people having been holding the festival every two years to cut costs.

Vietnam’s tug-of-war game was also recognised as a UNESCO cultural intangible heritage of humanity in December 2015./.