The “Nghinh Ong” , or whale worshiping festival, was launched on September 28 (August 16 in the Lunar Calendar) in Vung Tau city, the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Besides rituals picking up the whale god from the sea to Thang Tam Temple in the city, the three-day festival also features a number of traditional performances including folk games, swimming, and fishing and net-making competitions.

Vietnamese fishermen believe that whales rescue people in danger at sea and can bring them a prosperous fishing season.

Thus, the annual Nghinh Ong festival offers a chance for fishermen to express their gratitude towards the Nam Hai god (a whale) and the sea gods for protecting and supporting them in their daily lives and at sea, while praying for peace and a good harvest.

According to the organising board, the festival will also contribute to raising community awareness of protecting national sovereignty.

The “Nghinh Ong DinhThang Tam” festival in Vung Tau was recognised as one of the fifteen biggest festivals in the country by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2000.-VNA