As you know, Vietnam is a multi- nationality country with 54 ethnic groups living from the Northern to the Southern region of Vietnam. Each ethnic also has own culture, language, and custom as well. If you have a chance to travel to Mai Chau, you will be able to experience a unique festival called “the New Rice festival” of people living here. By my experiences for one year working here, I hope that some following information will give you a wonderful perspective and new look into your visit
The beauty of Mai Chau
Mai Chau is a small area located in Hoa Binh province, approximately 135km from Hanoi- the capital of Vietnam and it will take you over 3 hours driving by car. Mai Chau has many ethnic groups living here such as Muong, Thai, Dao but Thai ethnic is the majority. That’s why we can say Mai Chau is where to gather the own and unique culture of Thai people. The new rice festival is an unforgettable moment when the tourists come here.
If you go there the period of time between in May and June or September and October, you can see golden paddy-field stretch away to the horizon. At this time of the year, people start harvesting on the fields and the tourists try to keep this magical moment by taking some photos. Some of them also join in some activities with farmers here. When you see the rice grains are dried under the sunshine is also the beginning of new rice festival. Thai people start preparing something to make a meal. They cook rice and some dishes such as steamed fish, grilled pork and even boiled snails. They think that it is the best way to celebrate a new rice crop and express the sincere thankfulness for their ancestors. In their opinion, the ancestor’s blessing is very important for ensuring the next bumper crop. They not only prepare a meal carefully but also show their respect in a special way. In addition to pork, chicken, fish, fruits, the food trays always have a bowl of new rice or sticky rice. And the sticky rice made by them is so colorful. Instead of putting the foods on the plates as other ethnics, Thai people will be put on the banana leaves
The special meal in the new rice festival of Thai people
As usual, in the new rice festival, the hosts will invite relatives, neighbors and some guests to take part in. Both hosts and guests will be having a drink, happily enjoying the meal and wishing the best wish to each other. This custom has been passed down from generation to generation. After having a meal, you will have chance to enjoy the traditional dancing show with a lot of beautiful and unique performances, try the bamboo dance. If you don’t know, they are willing to show you how to dance. The rice wine is a thing you can not miss
The dancing show- real challenge to foreigner
The exact day of new rice festival is not fixed. It depends on each family. But the exact thing I can bet with you is if you come here that time, especially you’re foreigner, the local people here will give you warmly opened arms to welcome you for experiencing this festival and find out more about this magical destination. So let’s go!