Ky Yen Festival is not only a popular festival in the Nine Dragon River Delta, but it is also a distinctive and indispensable aspect of this region’s culture. Ky Yen Festival is organized annually from the 15th to the 17th day of a lunar year in every single village in southern Vietnam.
Normally, every village in the south has a temple to worship its god. The god might be a hero who made a lot of exploits or a character from local tales, etc. In the remote villages where they have no temple, people would have to travel all the way to the nearby villages to participate in the Ky Yen Festival.
The ceremonies begin in the early morning of the 15th day. People start the ThinhThan Ceremony, a parade which means to ask the God to visit the village again. They prepare delicious dishes made from the local specialities such as toasted pork, sticky rice with Cam Tim Leaves, white Hoi Cake … and the decorated palanquins for the parade. Following the palanquins full of food, fruits and gifts, the dragon-dance teams perform their skills while the music in the background keeps echoing all over the atmosphere. The visitors can also feel free to participate in this ceremony until it ends. Then, they can joins the local inhabitants to eat the wonderful food before watching the traditional song singing contest called Hat Boi. Hat Boi Contest will last from noon to the evening and from the evening to midnight. After every meal, people immediately come to listen to the talented contestants. Thus, even when the night has fallen down, the stage would still be surrounded by the crowd.
After the three days of the festival when they can enjoy the sounds of traditional music and the pleasure of worshiping their gods, the inhabitants will come back to their normal routine life, waiting for the next year festival to come and reform the village again!