Mekong ox race vies for international branding

By Dang Khoa   March 5, 2020 | 06:03 pm PT
Mekong ox race vies for international branding
A rider and his two oxen race towards the finish line at 2018 Bay Nui Ox Racing Tournament in An Giang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Authorities in southern An Giang Province are set to upgrade Bay Nui Ox Race to an international conservation event.

Le Van Phuoc, Vice Chairman of An Giang Province People's Committee, said Monday local authorities had approved funding of VND5.8 billion ($252,000) to implement the project for the 2020-2025 period.

The southern province will upgrade infrastructure, set up tours connecting to An Giang’s cultural and historical relic sites and tourist destinations.

Bay Nui Ox Race is part of traditional Sene Dolta Festival held by the local Khmer to commemorate their ancestors, pray for the living and strengthen community bonds.

The Khmer believe winning oxen ensure joy and good luck alongside a fruitful harvest. These animals are neither sold or slaughtered but cared for as prized assets.

Local authorities hope the upgraded event would attract the participation of Khmer from Cambodia and other Southeast Asian nations.

Bay Nui Ox Race is held annually between Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts, which neighbor Cambodia.

Nguyen Khanh Hiep, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, hopes the project would help promote responsible ox breeding practices.

The festival annually takes place from the 29th day of the eighth month to the first day of the ninth month on the lunar calendar, falling on October 15-17 this year.

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