Love market passionate legend of Ha Giang Karst Plateau hinh anh 1Adolescents go to Khau Vai (Phong Luu) love market. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Khau Vai love market, also known as Phong Luu market, is held annually in the karst plateau on the 27th day of the third lunar month. For more than a century, it has conserved cultural and traditional values of ethnic groups in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang.

The origin of Khau Vai love market

The market originates from a legend featuring a young man named Ba of Nung ethnic group and a young woman named Ut of Giay group. They were so in love but neither belonged to the same ethnic group nor had similar customs. In addition, Ba came from a poor family while Ut was the daughter of the head of the clan. Their love was forbidden as a result of the mismatch in familial background.

They fled to Khau Vai mountain, aiming to settle there.

However, their families began attacking each other in disagreement.

Knowing the situation, they could not help but break up and return to their respective families so as to fulfil their responsibilities. They promised to see each other each year in Khau Vai for just one day, which was the 27th day of the third lunar month to ease their longing for each other. After that one day, they would return to their daily lives. 

Near the end of their lives, the couple came to the place and passed away together in each other’s embrace. This date marks their fateful reunion, and also the last day of their lives.

Afterwards, villagers set up shrines dedicated to those two to honour their love. They also chose the date to hold a meeting place for lovers who could not be together.

The ‘market’ is to help former lovers who parted due to various reasons, to meet and talk to each other after years or separation.

Love market passionate legend of Ha Giang Karst Plateau hinh anh 2People come to Khau Vai market. (Photo: VNA)

Local people believe that those unsuccessful love stories form part of each person’s past. Spouses respect their partners’ past and spiritual lives.

As it honours pure love, Khau Vai market is now viewed as a festival and tourism product of sorts that can attract visitors to take in the lore.

On the 27th day of the third lunar month each year, ethnic people will wear their best clothes to Khau Vai market.

A ritual will be held to honour the ancestors who were village founders, as well as faithful love. The village elders typically host the event and ritual proceedings.

Musical performances, folk games and a beauty pageant will also be held, together with booths showcasing handicraft products and specialties of Ha Giang province so that visitors can buy them as souvenirs after their trips.

National intangible cultural heritage

Vice Chairman of the Ha Giang People’s Committee Tran Duc Quy said that Khau Vai market conserves traditional cultural values and at the same time honours pure and true love, thereby contributing to maintaining moral and virtues.

Love market passionate legend of Ha Giang Karst Plateau hinh anh 3Young people travel to Tu San canyon, which is viewed as among the most spectacular tourist destinations in Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang province. (Photo: VNA)

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recently issued Decision No. 1952/QD-BVHTTDL on listing Khau Vai market in the commune of the same name in Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province as a national intangible cultural heritage.

After two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival is set to take place on April 25-27 (from the 25th to 27th days of the third lunar month) in Meo Vac district, themed ‘Market of Love Songs’.

The opening ceremony and an event to receive the title of national intangible cultural heritage will be held on April 26 evening. 

Cultural exchange and musical activities at the event include panoply of dances to the sound of bronze drums, traditional instruments and others of numerous ethnic groups in the locality such as Mong, Nung, Giay, and Lo Lo.

During the three-day event, visitors may pay a visit to stalls introducing local specialties and typical dishes of Ha Giang province. They may also take part in a series of sightseeing activities to fields of buckwheat flower, Ma Pi Leng trekking route, a culture-tourism community village of Mong ethnic people in Pa Vi Ha hamlet, a boat tour on Nho Que 1 reservoir, among many other sites to see.

Deputy Director of the Ha Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trieu Thi Tinh affirmed that the re-enactment of the event at the provincial level aims to create a highlight for Ha Giang tourism. The event contributes to current efforts made to help the sector recover once the COVID-19 pandemic in the province is brought under control./.