The third Vietnam-Laos-China ‘con’ festival wrapped up in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien on October 27, gathering hundreds of artists and athletes from around the region.

A con is a colourful fabric ball which is thrown at a bamboo hoop as part of a folk game played during the festivals and New Year holidays of Thai ethnic communities. It is often held on a spacious and flat ground where a 15-20m high bamboo pole is erected with the target on top. The game has been adopted by people living in the border areas of Laos, China and Vietnam.

The Lao district of Nhot U, China’s Jiangcheng region, and Dien Bien and Lao Cai provinces in Vietnam take it in turns to organise the festival highlighting the game every year.

In addition to con throwing competitions, the three-day festival featured folk games, a cooking contest, a costumed beauty pageant, a trade fair on Vietnamese consumer products and cultural exchange activities.

According to Lo Van In, a Thai culture researcher in Dien Bien, the con symbolises Yang while the bamboo ring embodies Yin. The game shows the harmony of Yin and Yang, meaning that couples who wish to have children often take part to pray for a child.

The biennial festival is also expected to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding among three regional countries.-VNA