The Central Highland province of Dak Lak will hold a traditional ceremony in honour of the indigenous ethnic communities’ watering places as part of its first ever cultural week.

The riverside watering-place ceremony, which will be performed for the first time in many years, will be one of the highlights of Buon Me Thuot-Dak Lak Tourism and Cultural Week from December 16-20. Organisers hope the event will encourage youth to preserve natural water resources.

Since traditional times, the main water supply in the highlands has come from the upper sections of the rivers and streams, making these important places for the community.

“It is a very grand ceremony of the Central Highlands people,” said Y Wai Bya, director of the provincial department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Elephants will be the main feature of the Legend of Central Highland Elephant Festival that is being held during the cultural week. “In addition to gong culture, elephants are typical to the region,” said Tran Sy Thanh, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

There will be 30 elephants taking part in the festival with competitions including an elephant football match, an elephant running race and swimming race, and the strongest elephant competition. “But the most interesting event is an enactment of hunting wild elephants,” Thanh added.

“Visitors can also ride elephants around mountain tracks and streams.”

Other activities include a fire festival, highlands ethnic fashion show, roadside festivities, a wood sculpture camp, a food gala and a commerce and trade exhibition.

Dak Lak is located in the centre of the highlands with 13, and 1.8 million people. It owes its rapid development to coffee and rubber production.

“It takes visitors nine hours by bus from HCM City, starting at 8pm and arriving in the province early in the morning so you can wake up to a warm highlands welcome,” Thanh said./.