Early New Year celebrations of Ha Nhi ethnic people in northern Vietnam
Living in the northern mountainous region, the Ha Nhi celebrate their Tet (New Year) festival more than two months earlier than the Kinh, the largest ethnic group in Vietnam. Let’s find out the distinctiveness in their Tet celebrations.
VIDEO The Ha Nhi live in the border communes of Ka Lang, Ta Ba, Thu Lu, and Mu Ca, in the watershed area of the Da River. Here in Lai Chau province, they still retain many distinct cultural features, including traditional Tet (New Year) which is usually celebrated early in the 10th lunar calendar. Their Tet festival begins on the Thin day (the day of the dragon according to the lunar calendar) and ends on the Thin day in the same month, after people complete their annual crop. Ha Nhi people often slaughter pigs to celebrate Tet, considering this as the result of breeding in the year. Pig slaughtering is usually held on the early morning of the first Thin day, with the participation of all family members. After slaughtering pigs, Ha Nhi people take the most delicious meat to serve as ancestors 'trays, as a report of family members' work in the year. According to Ha Nhi people’s traditional custom, the pig’s liver is kept intact . The liver is then used by the village patriarch to tell what would happen in a new year. Traditionally, if the pig is healthy, its liver’s colour is bright and its bile is full, a bumper rice harvest and good breeding season is anticipated for a new year. Besides pork, Banh Giay (a type of glutinous rice cake) is an indispensable dish to be displayed on the offering try to ancestors. Elderly Ha Nhi people say the cakes are often made big and round, to signal a happy and lucky year ahead The festival offers a chance for the Ha Nhi to wear new traditional costumes. Like the Kinh, the largest ethnic group in Vietnam, the Ha Nhi hold a big party for family reunion during the Tet festival.
The Ha Nhi, an ethnic minority group in Bat Xat, in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, has a traditional beer that has existed for hundreds of years, but few people have had a chance to enjoy it.