Droves of domestic and foreign tourists visit the mountainous northern province of Lao Cai during Tet (Lunar New Year). The province, home to numerous ethnic minorities, hosts over 30 festivals each year.

Among them is a dancing festival, which is held in Sa Pa district only on the first and second day of the Lunar New Year. Dao ethnic minorities dance to symbolically invite ancestors and angels from heaven back to earth to celebrate Tet with their descendants.

Folk dances of their community, were also performed as part of efforts to pray for protection and blessings, for the survival of their clan.

The dance rituals were followed by a procession and ancestral statue bathing ceremonies, and a fire dancing festival which also attracts tourists for at least three days and two nights.

Another tourist attraction is the Tay ethnic minority’s Long Tong festival, known as Rong Pooc by Giay ethnic folk. The one-day event is hosted by an elderly or a prestigious shaman. A bamboo pole adorned with red and yellow wish paper is erected. The offerings include a variety of farm produce to pray for a bumper harvest and good luck.

During the festival, cultural and sporting activities including football, table tennis, tug of war, stilt walking, blind man’s buff, and “con” throwing are organised.

Visitors to the province will also have a chance to enjoy Gau Tao festival of the Mong people or the Ha Nhi people’s Khu Gia Gia festival.

Last year, Lao Cai welcomed over 1 million tourists and earned nearly 2 trillion VND (95 million USD) in revenue, up 35.8 percent from the year before.

Tran Huu Son, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the sector will focus on developing special and quality tourist products based on local heritages.

The province expects more than 1.1 million visitors this year, which will generate over 2.1 trillion VND (100 million USD).-VNA