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23:48 | 21/11/2013

 Recreating the Bay Nui bull race festival at the Village

(LVH) - In the morning of 21st November at the central of Gate A, Vietnam Cultural Village of Ethnic Culture and Tourism, the festival of Bay Nui bull race was officially opened. For the first time, the bull race was re-presented at the Village" and brought to visitors the impressive display of bull race.

The program was attended by Mr. Lam Van Khang, the Deputy Head of the Management Board of Village, the Head of the Organization Committee; the representatives for the leaders of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the provinces and people who went to participate the Week as well as people, tourists, journalists and media.
Giving speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Lam Van Khang, the Deputy Head of the Management Board of the Village, the Head of the Organization Committee said that "To get this activity, in nearly three months, the Organizing Committee had coordinated with the An Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to prepare carefully the necessary conditions; in the past time, the official delegation, artists and An Giang people had surpassed more than 2,100 km of roads to bring to 6 bull couples to Hanoi so that today we could witness a unique and attractive act" and highlighted that “ Bay Nui bull race - a special sport - culture activity, of Southern Khmer people at Bay Nui region in An Giang province recreated at the Village - the Common House of 54 ethnic groups was a practical work contributing to preserve and promote the traditional values of national culture and introduce to people and international visitors the identity of Vietnamese culture which was unified in diversity "

 

Mr. Lam Van Khang, the Vice Head of Management Board of Village, the Head of Organization Committee, gave the speech at the opening ceremony

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Huynh Hong Hiep, the representative of An Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that Bay Nui bull race was a typical sport and cultural activity of An Giang province and was a healthy and helpful playground. This was a good practice which should be reserved to strengthen the ethnic cultures to fight against the harmful elements of external alien culture and promote the values of national culture, honor the traditional culture and create new momentum for the movement of the great national solidarity etc.

 

Mr. Huynh Hong Hiep, the representative of An Giang Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, gave speech.

As a rule of Khmer people in An Giang, annually in the cultivating season, farmers take bull here to plow at the field of Temple; on this occasion, the bull owners match pairs of bull to race and gradually it becomes the season of bull race and the monks at the temple often host and reward the awards to the winner.

 

The view of Bull race 

The race area was reproduced at an empty ground with the width of about 100 m and the length of 160 m; the high embankment was filled to help viewers see clear and cheer for the race. The race track had the width of about 8 meters. The advantage of Dong Mo land was the hard surface layer of soil and had more sand than heavy earth; it did not subside or slip so it was suitable for the race. Before the race, the race road was pumped with water to create a thin layer of mud which would make the bull pair run easier. The two road sides had flags and barrier wire to limit the race road.

 

The purebred bulls with strong feet, small nails, solid muscles and sharp horns

To attend the race, each pair of bulls were put in a particular harrow, the harrow was the wooden board with the thickness of 6 cm, width of 30 cm and length of 90 cm and the short teeth harrow was below. Khmer men held a piece of wood with pointy nails called Xa-lu to control bulls in a skillful way.

 

The pairs of bull marched in front of grand stand

The race had two rounds: the first round was called "Walking" and the other was called "Racing". If the “walking” round expressed the skillful control of the harrow holder, the “racing" round was the decisive factor of the race. After the opening ceremony, the pairs of bull marched around the racecourse for about 10 minutes. The referee signaled for harrow holders to take bulls into yards in the order of drawing lot code: The pair of bulls number 1 with pair of bulls number 6, pair of bulls number 2 with pair of bull number 3, pair of bull number 4 with pair of bulls number 5

 

The pair of bulls waited for the competition

In the “walking” round, the pair of bulls had right to surpass the pair ahead but not beyond the horizontal line 8 m, if the pair of bulls behind surpassed, they would be the destination No 2. If one of two pairs violated the rules, they would be excluded and the remaining pair had to take all the “walking” and “racing” round”, if they violated rules, they also were excluded. The purpose of this round was to get acquainted with racetrack and try the skill control of the harrow holders.

 

Two pair of bulls in “walking” round 

After finishing the “walking” round, the “racing” round was followed from the yellow flag to green about 20 m and if the pair of bull behind stepped on the pair of bulls ahead, the behind pair would be lost (it was not the line to allow step on harrow). It was 80-100 m from the green flag to the target if the pair behind stepped on the harrow a head, the pair behind would win although they had not reached the target.
When reaching the line of “racing” round, with the order of the referee, the harrow holders used the piece of wood to hit strongly on the bull rear, the bull got hurt and run quickly ahead. The art of control was to hasten equally two bulls so that two bulls accelerated equally, the race became fiercely attractive. The bull exerted effort to reach the target in the bravo and cheering of the viewers etc. 

 

Accelerate to reach the target in the “racing” round

The race was exciting, vibrant and joyful with the cheering and bravo from audiences. But the most special thing of Bay Nui bull race was the spirit of the martial sports and deeply humanity. Love of bull owners to them was expressed most clearly from the stage of training and caring for playing time, through empathy between people and animals in the race etc.

 

The audience cheered enthusiastically

Bay Nui bull race reappeared the 2nd time at the "Village" at 14 h-16 h on 23rd November, this was a valuable opportunity for the visitors to experience the fierce racing rounds and help visitors understand the lives of river ethnic people and join hands to preserve the essence of Vietnam cultural identity.

Pham Huong

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