The Dao Thanh Phan ethnic community in Dong Van commune, Binh Lieu district, the northern province of Quang Ninh, jubilantly celebrate their annual Ngay Kieng gio festival. (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The Dao Thanh Phan ethnic community in Dong Van commune, Binh Lieu district, the northern province of Quang Ninh, jubilantly celebrate their annual Ngay Kieng gio festival (Mi seeng phay hey dao in Dao language, meaning avoiding wind) on May 18.

Dao Thanh Phan is a sub-group of the Dao ethnic group, who mainly reside in the northern mountainous region.

The annual festival, also known as Dong Van Love Market, was earlier a local event with the participation of only Dao ethnic people in the commune. However, in order to preserve the unique cultural tradition of the Dao ethnic group, the Dong Van communal authorities made it a cultural festival for all local ethnic groups.

This year is the first time the festival has been held at district level, in the framework of the 2018 National Tourism Year hosted by Quang Ninh province, said To Dinh Hieu, Vice Director of Binh Lieu district’s cultural communication centre.

He emphasized that all activities during the festival are centred around the culture of Dao Thanh Phan group, adding that it is a good opportunity for visitors to get an insight into the unique Dao culture which has been preserved almost intact.  

According to the Dao tradition, the Ngay Kieng gio festival is held on the fourth day of the fourth lunar month (which falls on May 18 this year). All Dao ethnics in Binh Lieu leave home very early in the morning and only return home after sunset. They gather in groups, usually at shady and windy places like near a stream or a water fall. They talk to each other, sing traditional melodies or discuss crops in the next season.

An interesting thing about the festival is that the Dao people will not do any production activity such as going to the field or hoeing during the day due to the belief that the god of wind will cause failure of any work during the day. However, the women keep sewing or embroidering during the day.

Besides the traditional activities of the local Dao community, this year’s festival had many more events such as tug-of-war and stick pushing competitions, and demonstrations of hand-made embroidering by Dao women. The Binh Lieu district also ran booths introducing Dao handicrafts at Dong Van market and promoting tours to local destinations to visitors.

Quang Ninh province is hosting the National Tourism Year 2018, which was launched at a grand ceremony on April 28.

A total of 100 events will be held throughout the year, with more than 50 in Quang Ninh alone, which promise to bring impressive and interesting experience for visitors.

Last year, Quang Ninh welcomed more than 10 million tourists, 4 million of who came from other countries. The province aims to attract over 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.

The province is focusing on four types of tourism products, namely sea and island tourism, cultural and spiritual tourism, community-based tourism, and border tourism.-VNA