The Song Doc Festival in Ca Mau

The Song Doc Festival is usually regarded by the local inhabitants as the NghinhOng festival, the biggest traditional festival in Ca Mau. This annual festival is originally an event of the Cham people before it was adopted and developed by the Viet (Kinh) people. For as long as it has been organized, this event is related to the belief of the local people in CaOng (the god of fishes) and the CaOng Temple in Song Doc Town.

As many other traditional festivals in Vietnam, the timeline of Song Doc Festival follows solely the lunar calendar. The festival is held in three days: the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of the 2nd month of a lunar year. Even though the 14th day is also included in the agenda, the festival does not start until the 15th day, leaving the 14th day for only preparation purposes. In the morning of the 15th, all preparation must be finished so that the ceremony can start at 2pm in the afternoon.  At that time, the head and the committee of the festival will begin the worshiping process inside the temple. Eight students will bring the gifts of the families in the town and walk into the sublime hall. The students chosen are usually the daughters in the families in Song Doc Town. After the worshiping procedure, the drum team, flag team, dance team perform while marching from the main hall of the temple to the grand yard of the town. At the same time, the inhabitants join these teams to make a colourful parade. Besides, there are hundreds ships of the fishermen decorated with ornaments waiting at the harbour.

Similar to those in many other places, the Song Doc festival is also a CauNgu festival, one that wish for a peaceful weather in the ocean and good luck for the fishermen. For the last few years, it has been organized in a great scale, with thousands of people both inside and outside of the province to visit and participate in.

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