The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang has already prepared for the first ‘Ngo’ Boat Race Festival of the ethnic Khmer people to be held from November 14-17, according to Tran Thanh Nghiep, Vice Chairman the People’s Committee.
Some activities such as folk games, traditional art performances and ethnic costume competitions have been kicked off since November 11, he said.
The most important event of the festival is the ‘Ngo’ boat race, one of the highlights of the many traditional historical and cultural events of Khmer people. The race attracts around 62 teams from across the country.
The first ‘Ngo’ Boat Race Festival will be a chance to promote tourism in Soc Trang and introduce the culture of Khmer people to visitors. The event will also include a wide range of activities such as trade fairs, exhibitions, a traditional food festival, art performances and ethnic costume competitions.
Soc Trang Province has unique cultural characteristics which are cultural values of people such as Khmer, Kinh and Hoa ethnic minority groups.
Khmer people in the province nowadays have been trying production and trade to raise income and improve their living. They have applied latest science and technology methods in production as well, Mr. Nghiep said.
‘Ngo’ boat is considered a sacred object of the ethnic Khmer people. The special boat is made of wood by artisans and Khmer Buddhist monks. The boat is decorated with images of dragons, tigers, elephants, lions and peacocks representing the power of the boat.
‘Ngo’ boat race is also one of the activities to celebrate the Ok Om Bok Festival which is held on the fifteenth day of the tenth lunar month every year with plenty of entertainment, art performances, traditional sports and games, and releasing of buoyant paper lanterns in the air and on the river.
During the festival, people pray for good luck, happiness, good weather and a bumper crop, and express their sorrow and worries and pray that their god will bestow favors on them and give them a better life.