Dien Bien Phu city in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien is speeding up preparations for the third Vietnam-Laos-China “con” (colourful fabric ball) throwing festival slated for October 25-27.

Participants from the guest Chinese district of Jiangcheng (Yunnan province) and the Lao district of Nhot U (Phongsaly province) will join others from Muong Te district, Lai Chau province and Dien Bien province’s Dien Bien Phu city, Muong Nhe and Dien Bien districts at the festival.

Apart from “con” throwing” competitions, the festival will also feature folk games, a cooking contest, a costumes beauty pageant, a trade fair on Vietnamese consumer products, and cultural exchanges.

According to Nguyen Trong Lien, Director of the city’s Culture, Sport and Tourism Centre, this is the first time Dien Bien Phu hosts the festival. The two previous ones took place in China’s Jiangcheng district.

Influenced by the Thai ethnic group’s culture, districts of Muong Nhe and Muong Te in Dien Bien and Lai Chau together with its neighboring localities of Laos’ Nhot U and China’s Jiangcheng take turns organising the festival each year.

During festivals and New Year holidays of the Thai ethnic group, “con” hurling is an indispensable folk game. It is often held on a spacious and flat ground where a 15-20m high bamboo pole is erected. Its top is tied with a five-coloured flag and a bamboo-made ring wrapped in red paper that serves as the target.

According to Lo Van In, a Thai culture researcher in Dien Bien, “con” symbolises Yang while the bamboo ring embodies Yin. The game shows the harmony of Yin and Yang so that couples who wish to have children excitingly compete in the game to pray for a child.-VNA