Taking place on April 30th and May 1st annually, the Cua Lo Festival is an interesting event in Nghe An, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the province. Together with the traditional Van Loc Temple Festival held on Lam River, this is a unique cultural aspect combining the region’s traditional values and the modern values, triggering the start of its tourism season.
As many other Vietnamese festivals, Cua Lo Festival includes two parts: worshiping procedure and celebration. The former consists of several ceremonies such as Khai Quang Ceremony, Yet Cao Ceremony, and Thankfulness Ceremony, all of which are carried out in Van Loc Temple. When all worshiping procedure is done, people form a parade and march from Van Loc Temple to the Binh Minh Square in the center of Cua Lo. The format of the parade is no different from that of the parade in Van Loc Temple Festival but its scale is much bigger. The parade starts from early afternoon, going through all main streets of the town. Even though there are only a few hundreds of people in the beginning, after a while, the colorful and cheerful parade expands into thousands of people! They march and dance on the street while the Lion Dance groups are performing right beside them. The ornate carriages, the glorious flags and the colorful outfits of performers surely create a multi-dimension cultural space, leaving a great impression on all lucky tourists.
After the worshiping ceremonies, the celebration is organized with many entertainment and sport activities. First of all, the annual show called “Connecting the Sea’s Hands” featuring many professional performing groups is the most important event, followed by a spectacular firework show. Next, there are many sport activities such as beach volleyball, tug-of-war, badminton, tennis, human chess, etc. Tourists can also spend some times to have a look at photographs of Cua Lo’s famous historical and natural sites in the exhibition site of the festival. Interesting, before the festival, many hotel in the area organize Food Culture events or Best Chef competitions, so you should check with your hotel in advance! Another indispensable activity of Cua Lo Festival is the traditional boat race which attracts hundreds of people. This is the chance for you to find the most capable racers from all districts in Nghe An (and probably from other provinces such as Hung Nguyen, Dien Chau, Thua Thien – Hue as well!) Normally, each of the boat has 20 members and a leader who beats the drum or blows the whistle to give signals to the team. The venue of the race is the beautiful beach in front of Binh Minh Square. 1000m long, the race track is watched by the ships of the navy. This race not only rejuvenates a unique cultural aspect of the fishermen, but also becomes a distinctive cultural activity for tourists in Cua Lo.