The annual Kate Festival of Cham ethnic minorities who follow the Brahmin religion in the south central province of Ninh Thuan begins on October 4. The festival is an occasion for the Cham people to pay their respect to their heroes.

Many sport and cultural events will take place over three days. Traditional music, sport and entertainment performances will be held at major temples and towers. Khmer girls in nice gowns and traditional fan dances will captivate visitors. P articipants can dance with Khmer girls and relax with Ginang drumming and Saranai trumpeting.

More than 200 traditional costumes and accessories of female Vietnamese minorities in southern provinces as well as objects of ethnic Cham will be displayed at the Centre for Cham Cultural Studies in the province's Phan Rang-Thap Cham City.

Ninh Thuan has 74,000 Cham, nearly 12 percent of the province's population. Of that number, 43,000 follow the Brahmin religion and live in 27 villages of 12 communes in seven districts and cities in the province. The Khmer people in Ninh Thuan have preserved several unique folk festivals as Kate, Ramawan, Rija Nagar, and two traditional villages – the My Nghiep weaving village and the Bau Truc pottery village.

This year the Kate Festival, one of the 15 biggest folk festivals in Vietnam, will be held at the three major towers and temples of the Khmer in the province: the Po Ina Nagar temple in Huu Duc-Ninh Phuoc; Po Klaong Garay tower in Do Vinh of Phan Rang city; Cham tower and Po Rome tower in Hau Sanh-Ninh Phuoc, The Vietnam Net online newspaper reports.

The festival consists of two parts, rituals and festivities. The first day is for the ceremony to receive Goddess Po Nagar's costumes in Huu Duc hamlet. The ceremony takes place from 1.30 p.m of the first day to 9 p.m of the same day in the hamlet's temple. Po Nagar, the Khmer people consider the mother of their land, taught local people to grow rice, plant cotton, weave clothing and carry out the festival.

The second day is for Kate Festival at Cham towers. The costume receiving ritual (often starting at 7 a.m): All the royal costumes at Cham tower temples are kept by the Raglai people. Therefore, at the Kate Festival, the Khmer people have to do a ceremony to welcome the Ragrai people who bring the costumes to the Cham tower temples. The ceremony is held solemnly because it initiates the whole festival.

The ceremony to receive costumes at Po Nagar temple takes place in the afternoon, one day before the official festival day at the tower temples. It starts at 1.30 p.m and finishes at 9 p.m the same day. Similar ceremonies at Po Rome and Po Klong Garai towers take place in the next morning. Although they take place at different times, the rituals are almost the same.

On the day of the ceremony to receive King Po Klong Garai's costumes at Po Klong Grai temple in Phuoc Dong, the Raglai people arrive there in the early morning. The man who takes care of the temple offers liquor and eggs to ask for gods' permission to take the costumes to Po Klong Garai tower for a ritual. When he finishes his job, King Po Klong Garai's costumes are put on a palanquin and taken to Po Klong Garai tower.

The way from Phuoc Dong hamlet to the tower is about four kilometers. As soon as the procession arrives at the tower, a group of dancers will perform a dance in front of the tower. This dance will also be performed at the end of any stage of the Khmer people's rituals. The similar ceremony at Po Rome Tower takes place on the same day.-VNA