The fish-worshipping festival of the central city has been recognised as one of seven National Intangible Heritage items by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Fish festivals declared intangible heritage
The central city has restored 12 annual fish-worshipping festivals at fishing villages in the beach districts of Lien Chieu, Thanh Khe, Ngu Hanh Son and Son Tra.
It’s the third National Cultural Intangible Heritage designation for the city after the Stone Arts Sculpture of Non Nuoc craft village in Ngu Hanh Son District in 2014 and Tuong Xu Quang (Quang Nam’s classic drama) in 2015.
The annual festival, known as the Whale Worshipping (Le Hoi Cau Ngu), has been an indispensable part of life in fishing villages in the city and is an important spiritual and cultural event, staged in the hope of winning favour with the sea god.Fish festivals declared intangible heritage
The earliest festival was first held in 1893 in Thanh Khe Village, home to 3,200 fishermen. The festivals are mostly held in the middle of the first lunar month, which is the start of the fishing season, and most trawlers go to sea as soon as the festival ends.
Local fishermen launched 300 paper flower garlands to sea to pray for the dead and to the god of the sea. Fishermen believe by so doing they will have a safe year and good catches.
The central attraction of the festival sees elderly fishermen carrying a sedan in a procession from the sea to the beach. The god of the sea is presented with an offering of a boiled pig’s head and three trays of food and fruits.
The attraction of the festival
The festival is organised along with local folk games, the weaving of fishing nets, a coracle race and local food delicacies. Each fishing village along the beaches of Da Nang build a temple to worship the god of the sea, where a whale’s skeleton is buried. Da Nang has 15,000sq.km of fishing grounds, and a fleet of 2,300 boats, of which 699 are deep-sea trawlers.Fish festivals declared intangible heritage
According to the ministry, seven intangible heritages items have been given to crafts and festivals nationwide, including the bamboo craft village of Xuan Lai Commune in Bac Ninh Province, the Whale Festival in Binh Dai Commune of Ben Tre Province, the Festival of Female General Le Chan in Hai Phong, the commemorative festival of National Hero Truong Dinh in Tien Giang Province, the ancient manuscript collection of the Thai ethnic group in Son La Province, and the Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho Province.