The traditional festival Cau Ngu is unique and imbrued with the cultural identity of coastal community. The fishermen here consider whale, a giant yet nice creature, as the companion of seafarers in their voyages, on the vast ocean full of danger. To these people’s mind, whale is not just a normal kind of mammal, but Sir Nam Hai-they are sanctified.
Cau Ngu Festival
The village where whales’ bodies drifted into when they die would build up a temple to properly venerate them, called Nam Hai Whale Temple (Lang Ong Nam Hai). That is the origin of Cau Ngu, a festival that has gone through a long history and become an important spiritual activity.
The festival starts with solemn ritual ceremonies, in which elders hold a palanquin procession from villages to villages, displaying fishermen’s union and expressing gratitude towards their ancestors and guardians. According to fishermen’s belief, if they put much thought into the rituals, celebrate them with huge reverence, they will be guaranteed a life with safe and sound sea journeys, great fishing results, and full of wealth and comfort.
Apart from the worshipping ceremony, Cau Ngu is about vibrant traditional games which well presents culture in the central coast of Vietnam, including fish-catching, net-casting, and raw fish games. Music is also an indispensable part of the festival, with “Boi” singing is performed. The festival takes place on the 12th day of the first lunar month.
Some important information
- Time: 12th day of 1st lunar month
- Purpose: venerate whales, pray for a wealthy and happy life
- Rites: palanquin procession, praying and worshipping ceremonies
- Entertaining activities: traditional games and Boi singing