Tet arrives early for northern Mong ethnic village hinh anh 1A man plays the blindfold pig catching, a popular game during Tet among the Mong. (Photo: VNS)

Dien Bien (VNS/VNA) - Villagers in Tham Phang village in Muong Ang district of Dien Bien province are celebrating Tet during one of the coldest winters in the region.

Belong to the Mong ethnicity, one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, locals here usually celebrate Tet a month earlier than the rest of the country. This year, Tet came even sooner because of an extra month in a leap year.

There are 30 days in a month in the Mong calendar with no exception.

The 361st day is the Mong’s Tet, their biggest celebration of the year.

Banh giay (a white, flat and round glutinous rice cake) is the holiday’s must-have food. Locals typically make a lot of banh giay for ceremonies and also to give families, friends and visitors to their village.

On the last day of the year, the Mong cleaned their house with a small bamboo branch while praying for health and prosperity for the household in the year to come.

In another Tet ritual, a member of the household, who holds a rooster and a hen while he or she stands by the front door along with a shaman. The shaman occasionally tosses a bamboo branch outside while chanting in a symbolic gesture to throw out all sadness and misfortune of the old year.

On the morning of the first day, a Mong household erects a tall tree in the middle of the front yard. Using a rope and tree branch, they create a ceremonial U-shaped gate. All members of the household then follow the eldest under the gate, men seven times and women nine times, in a ceremony to bring good luck.

The holiday season is also a time for the people to enjoy outdoor activities, musical performances and traditional games.-VNA