Dancers perform at Nghinh ​Ong Festival in HCM City’s Can Gio District — (Photo: vhttdlkv3.gov.vn)
HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City’s Can Gio outlying district is preparing for its annual Nghinh Ong Festival, to be held next week to show fishermen’s respect for the whale and gratitude for a bumper catch.

The festival, which falls on the 16th day of the eight month of the lunar calendar, includes a procession on land and at sea followed by local residents in traditional costumes and dozens of fishing vessels.

The procession will move from Ong Thuy Tuong Temple (Temple Worshiping the Whale) to the sea and from the sea to the temple.

The festival will include a release of lanterns to the sea organised by young people who will pray for a good fishing season, and a visit to Rung Sac War Martyrs Cemetery to remember soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country.

The organisers will host exhibitions showcasing photos and objects which feature fishing activities and the Can Gio mangrove forest, designated a world biosphere reserve in 2000.

Dozens of artists from the city’s Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong (Reformed Opera) Theatre will perform several extracts from famous plays for local people and tourists.

A food festival, folk games, sports, and traditional music performances will be held during the event. A Mid-Autumn Festival for local children will also be included.

Vo Trong Nam, deputy director of the Department of Culture and Sport, said “The Nghinh Ong Festival was recognised as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. It is the only traditional festival for fishermen held to celebrate their fishing career.”

“The event promotes tourism in Can Gio, as well as nurture the people’s love for Vietnam’s sea and islands,” he added.

The organisers hope the festival will attract 50,000 local and foreign visitors.

The festival is organised by the city’s Department of Culture and Sports and Can Gio District People’s Committee. It will take place from September 13-17.-VNA