If I told you the result has been decided, would you still play the game?

By Ha Thanh   April 11, 2016 | 06:36 pm GMT+7

This time every year, scores of men in Ngoc Tri village in Hanoi gather to fight for a game that they have already won, or lost.

Legend has it that, long long time ago, Ngoc Tri village, Long Bien, Hanoi, faced a dramatic drought in which only one among 12 wells of the village was left with water. Men from two hamlets, Duong and Cho, turned to this well in hamlet Dia, for water but hindered by Dias men. During that time, water was carried in wooden container slung to both ends of a stick thrown over ones shoulder. For fear of spillage, both sides were forced to sit down to embrace the containers. After the drought, the old men invented the sitting tug of war as a performance in the villages annual festival in memory of the struggle.

Legend has it that a long time ago, Ngoc Tri village in Long Bien district faced a dramatic drought, and only one of 12 wells in the village was left with water. Men from Duong and Cho hamlets turned to this well in Dia hamlet for water, but were stopped by the men there. During that time, water was carried in a wooden barrel that had to be dragged along the ground. After the drought, the old men invented the sitting tug of war as a performance in the village’s annual festival in memory of the struggle.

Before the festival, Ngoc Tri village cast the players. The first criterion is that the family of whom has five generations residing in the village. Ngoc Tri has three hamlets: Duong, Dia, Cho. Each will represent by a team. On the day of the event, each hamlet will send their offerings before taking part in the game.

Before the festival, Ngoc Tri village selects the participants. They must come from a family of five generations residing in the village. Ngoc Tri has three hamlets: Duong, Dia, Cho. Each is represented by a team. On the day of the event, each hamlet sends offerings before taking part in the games.

Each match is between two hamlets. Each hamlet consists of 24 players and a leader. The rope is passed through the hole on a pillar, which also act the divider.

Each match is between two hamlets. Each hamlet has 24 players and a captain. The rope is passed through a hole in a pillar, which also acts as a divider.

Before the game starts, the rope is wedged against the hole. The players sit with one leg straight, the other bent. On both sides, the players sits alternately, one on the left side of the rope, the next on the right side.

Before the game starts, the rope is wedged inside the hole. On both sides, the players sit on either side of the rope.

Each player straightens one hand and bent the other, the rope held tight under the armpits. After the mark of three drumbeats, the wedge is released, two leaders shout out the order.

Each player straightens one hand and bends the other, holding the rope held tightly under their armpits. After three drumbeats, the wedge is released and the captains urge their men to heave.

However its a game between three hamlets, the people from the whole village all wish the victory for Duong hamlet team. According to ancient customs, Duongs victory means prosperity and health for everybody.

Although it’s a game between three hamlets, all the village people want the team from Duong to win. According to ancient customs, a victory for Duong means prosperity and health for everybody.

The faith is also sealed for Dia hamlet, but on the flip side. They are not allowed to win because its victory is considered a bad omen. So no matter how strong the team is, Dia team only pushes for a while and then let Duong hamlet win.

On the flip side, the team from Dia hamlet have to lose because their victory is considered a bad omen. No matter how strong the team is, they only push for a while and then let Duong hamlet win.

The main value of the game is integrity it creates.

The main value of the game is integrity.

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On December 2, 2015, UNESCO recognized the ritual and tug of war in Vietnam (including the sitting one in Ngoc Tri), Cambodia, Korea and the Philippines as intangible cultural heritages of humanity.

 
 
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