The Long Tong (going to the field) festival opened in Dinh Hoa district of northern Thai Nguyen province on February 28, or the tenth day of the first lunar month, drawing crowds of local ethnic people and visitors from other localities.

Long Tong is the biggest agricultural festival in Viet Bac region, which comprises six provinces of Bac Kan, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, and Thai Nguyen, with the ritual by the Tay ethnic group in Tuyen Quang becoming part of the national intangible cultural heritage in 2013.

Local ethnic groups, including Tay, Dao and San Chay, offered trays of local specialities to gods to thank them for the bumper crops and to ask for their blessings so local people can enjoy favourable weather conditions and have a comfortable and happy life in the New Year.

A prestigious shaman is the first person to go off the field to conduct the Long Tong ritual while a good elderly farmer and a strong buffalo are chosen to make the first furrow for the new crop

During the festival, cultural and sport activities including stilt walking, shooting with a bow and arrows, and “con” (cloth ball) throwing are organised as well.

Visitors to the event are also introduced to 128 historical relic sites involving the resistance war against the French force (1946-1954) in the province.-VNA