Muc Dong Festival
Muc Dong Festival celebrates the children who look after water buffaloes, and it is held at Phong Le Village, Hoa Chau Commune, Hoa Vang District. According to Mr Ngo Tan Nha, a 90-year-old man from Phong Le Village, Muc Dong was initially celebrated every three years, then every six years, and finally only once every 12 years. It was last held in the 11th year of King Bao Dai’s reign (1936). The celebration of this festival was revived at Phong Le Village after nearly 75 years, in November 2010.
Once upon a time, there was some grassland where Gods were believed to come down from heaven, and therefore nobody dared go there. One day, some water buffaloes were lost in that grassland, and when some children went to find them, nothing awful happened. Ever since then, it was thought that the Gods only allowed children who keep buffaloes into the area. This village was called “Con” village, later “Dong” village, and was where buffalo boys gathered to play games. Over the generations, the local villagers have held a festival exclusively for the children who look after the buffalos, and it is called the Muc Dong Festival.
The Muc Dong Festival includes the rite of receiving the God of Agriculture from the grassland into the communal house, and incorporates many traditional ceremonies. Buffalo boys are invited to carry a palanquin to welcome the God, they happily play and jog on the rice fields, and pray for bumper crops. After the ceremony, the villagers join in the gala activities, which include traditional games for children like blind-man catching ducks, “danh ne”, “danh the”, and tug-of-war.