The Ngo (Khmer boat) race of 62 troupes, including 12 troupes of females, is part of the Ok Om Bok Festival (Source: VNA)

Soc Trang (VNA)  —  The traditional Ngo (Khmer boat) race is set to close the six-day Ok Om Bok Festival in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on November 3 night.

The boat race is a highlight of the festival, which is held by the Khmer people to give thanks for the year’s harvests.

The race has attracted 62 troupes, including 12 troupes of females, from the provinces of Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Kien Giang, An Giang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau.

More than 500 Khmer are participating in the race, the largest number ever.

“This year we have two troupes with 150 racers from My Tu district. We spent more than 200 million VND on building and upgrading boats, each 20-30 metres long,” said Hoang Luy, trainer of the Bung Kok Temple Troupe, one of the two troupes from My Tu.

“We hope our boats will finish first at the final race tonight,” he added.

The three-day race is among dozens of cultural performances and traditional games held during the festival, one of the three largest Khmer festivals in Soc Trang.

Many professional and amateur artisans and sports people in the region have participated in this year’s event.

Artists in traditional clothes from other ethnic groups have also performed in a wide variety of cultural shows, music presentations, and sport activities.

“We hope Vietnamese and foreign visitors will learn more about Khmer art and culture at the festival,” said Pham Van Dau, Deputy Director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, a member of the festival’s organising board.

The Soc Trang Food Festival and Trade, Exhibition and Tourism Trade was held last week, featuring 487 stalls displaying local products in agriculture, handicrafts and processed food from more than 200 domestic companies and enterprises in the area.

The food festival featured traditional dishes originating from the King, and the Hoa and Khmer peoples. Both events attracted several thousand visitors.

One of the highlights of the event was the Du Ke Theatre Festival 2017 that began on November 1. It introduced Du Ke, a unique style of musical theatre created by the Khmer in the region. Local farmers in Tra Vinh who love singing originated Du Ke around 1920.

“Through our outdoor shows, we hope young people can learn more about traditional arts and discover how rich their country’s culture is, and also learn lessons about life, love and people,” said veteran actress Thach Thi Ha of the Anh Binh Minh Traditional Art Troupe of  Tra Vinh.-VNA