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Buffalo Fighting

"Before the train enters Hai Phong, we pass company grounds and brand new industrial warehouses and offices on the outskirts of the city. Deeper in the city, the houses crawl closer to the railway.
Eventually the train stumbles less than a meter away past the crippled homes on the track. Food smells and the smoke from charcoal fires enter the train. A child in a tub is scrubbed clean by his mother, watched by wagon loads of prying eyes".

The Fighting

          Hai Phong - is the main port city of North Vietnam and it is a commercial and industrial center. It is the third most populous metropolis in the country. It is located near Thai Binh province in the south, Quang Ninh province in the north and Hai Duong province in the west. Hai Phong, 100 km from Hanoi, is a beautiful city with a colonial appearance. The city is also known as 'The City of Flame Flowers' because most streets are lined with flame flower trees. Hai Phong also serves as a pleasant base when visiting other northeastern sites such as Cat Ba and Halong Bay.
In Hai Phong, there are many places worth visiting, including temples, shrines, pagodas and mausoleums. There is also a beach and a common house where tourists often come. The city is also known for a handful of festivals, including one with buffalo fighting in the Do Son district.

Buffalo Fighting is a unique and traditional festival of people in Haiphong City. This festival is associated not only with the worship and sacrifice of water goddesses, but also with the courage, chivalry and risk-taking.
The festival stems from the belief that buffalo fighting is in favor of their guardian gods and that a continuity of this activity will bring them safe travels, abundant crops and healthy and wealthy people - signs of prosperity and luck. In fact, the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival has been held in the region since the 18th century.


The Winner

The festival comes into operation annually and officially on the 9th day of the 8th month in Vietnamese lunar calendar; however, its preparation takes nearly a year to complete. From choosing the right buffalo to buy, raising and training them - all require hard work and constant effort. For example, the selection of fighting buffalo should only be done with great care, because they have to meet a wide range of requirements: at least 4 or 5 years old, broad chest, arc-shaped horns, tight thighs and long tail. These buffaloes are also kept separate from normal buffaloes, etc.

After many tensions and dramatic games, the winning buffalo will be killed at the end of the day at a ceremony honoring the water goddess. According to locals, the village that owns the winning buffalo gets a new year full of happiness and safety. Especially all fighting buffaloes are sacrificed towards heaven and earth in the hope of the locals for a happy and rich life. It is also widely believed among villagers that eating the meat of buffalo participating in the festival will bring them luck.
Overall, Buffalo Fighting Festival represents the unique spiritual life of Do Son locals and contributes to creating the unique lifestyle of this coastal area.

A difficult fight. Who wins?




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