A festival took place in Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province on Feb. 10 or the sixth day of the Lunar New Year festival. The traditional event is held by the Mong ethnic community every year to pray for a bumper crop.

The festival is held to pray for good weather and abundant crops. It also provides a chance for the elders to gather and wish each other longevity and bless their descendants with luck and health; and for girls and boys to make a date and pray for happiness all year around.

On festival day, all activities of the Mong people take place around a Neu tree (bamboo pole) which is set up on flat ground on the mountain. The Mong people believe that the Neu tree serves as a bridge to link them with gods.

Gau Tao is the largest cultural festival of Mong ethnic minority people living mostly in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam. It is also a good opportunity for family reunions, traditional games and other activities in preparation for new crops to grow soon.-VNA