A central Vietnam harvest fest retains its traditional trappings

By Vo Thanh   December 25, 2018 | 11:19 am GMT+7

In Thua Thien-Hue, the Pa Ko celebrate their harvest festival, Aza, with communal harmony.

A central Vietnam harvest fest retains its traditional trappings

Every year after the harvest season, the Pa Ko, an ethnic minority community living in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, celebrate the Aza festival. This year, the festival was held on Thursday, December 20.

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The festival begins with the shamans making offerings to the gods. Most of the Pa Ko men are dressed in their colorful traditional attire, mostly red and black striped hand-woven fabric worn like a sarong, draped over bare chests like a sash and wrapped around their heads like a turban.

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The offerings made by the shamans include chicken, pork, rice, sticky rice and seeds. Two items that are crucial to this ritual are brocade and flowers made with bamboo. 

The Aza festival is the most significant cultural and spiritual event for the Pa Ko, so every house looks to offer the most precious gifts they can to the gods.

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The village elder conducts the Giang (God) worshiping ceremony that also has a foretelling tradition to it. He will seek blessings for next year’s harvest.

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After worshiping at home, representatives of each family, men and women in their traditional attire, bring offerings to the central house.

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At the central, or communal house, the offerings of all residents are arranged for the main festival ceremony. The Pa Ko people celebrate the Aza festival to pray for a better New Yeargood health and for their children to do well.

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Representatives of various clans go around a tree along with their offerings after they get permission from the shamans.

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After the ceremony the village elders and clan leaders toast the successful conduct of a festival with traditional wine drunk from bamboo glasses.

 
 
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