4-sacred-animals boat race opens in Quang Ngai
Thousands of local people and tourists gathered in the Ly Son Island district of central Quang Ngai province to enjoy a traditional boat race scheduled from the 4th to the 8th day of the first lunar month.
The annual festival is in commemoration of the ancestors and combatants who sacrificed their lives to safeguard national sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos. It is also a chance to pray for the peace and prosperity of local fishermen.
8 racing boats are named after 4 sacred animals: Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle, Phoenix with beautifully carved patterns.
"Local people like us find this race very exciting which is supposed to encourage us to work harder in the New Year. Competitors will do their best to win the race in hope for more achievements this year and to pray for peace for everyone," said Vo Van Cam who lives in Ly Son district's An Hai commune.
The traditional boat race festival has been observed for nearly 200 years.
"The race is said to begin in 1826 and we're compiling dossiers to ask the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to recognize it as an intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam," said Le Van Ninh, Deputy Chairman of Ly Son district's People's Committee.