The Mong ethnic community in Na Hau commune, Van Yen district, the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai, are gathering at their sacred forest areas to celebrate the forest god worship festival.

The annual forest festival is the most important event of the local Mong people, during which the ethnic minorities pray to the forest god for favourable weather, abundant crops, good health and happiness.

Traditions have it that during the festival, which usually lasts from the last day of the first lunar month through the first three days of the second lunar month, nobody is allowed to go into the forest for any reason. Even picking a leaf is forbidden.

The forest god is offered with a lot of things such as a white-feathered cock, a black-feathered hen, a black pig, wine and votive papers. All are arranged on a stone table put under the biggest tree.

After the offering ceremony local people enjoy a big feast.

In recent years, the festival has also served as a meeting for each hamlet to review the forest protection over the past year, with the participation of all people in the commune, communal officials and forest rangers.

They also discussed the situation in production, poverty reduction and security at hamlets.

Na Hau commune is located in the core area of the Na Hau Nature Reserve. Of the commune’s natural area of 5,640 hectares, primitive forests cover 4,700 hectares. Despite limited farming land, forests here are still protected thanks to the long-standing tradition of worshipping the forest god.-VNA