The ceremony of praying for good fortune

In the cold weather, very little of sunshine after rainy days it seemed to contribute to making the atmosphere of the New Year's ceremony of praying for good fortune of the people in Ta Phin commune (Sa Pa town) more sacred and convenient.

Although the festival could not be organized and the ceremony was also shortened in terms of the number of participants, the ceremony of praying for good fortune at the beginning of this year (also known as the ceremony of worshiping the village god) in Sa Xeng village, Ta Phin commune was still attended by the officials and local people to eagerly look forward to, go shopping and prepare adequate and decent offerings.

The shaman performed the ceremony to pray to the gods and the land in the New Year's ceremony in Ta Phin commune.

On the Dragon Day of January, early in the morning, the commune officials and some local people gathered to prepare offerings and the tray to worship the village god. Mr. Ly Lao Lo, Chairman of the People's Committee of Ta Phin Commune said: This is the local tradition of praying for good fortune at the beginning of the new year. On this day, people prepare offering trays, including: sticky rice, chicken, pork, sticky rice cake, peach blossom/plum blossom, delicious local fruits,... offering to the gods and the terroir to pray for favorable rain, good wind, lush and bountiful crops.
The worshiping ceremony was performed at the temple in the middle of a field, under a tall, large white cliff. The 12-lamp shaman Ly Phu Chiu, Dao ethnic minority, the Secretary of the Party Committee of Ta Chai Village, Ta Phin commune, mumbled a prayer to the gods and the land. For about 3 hours, the shaman held the book and stood to pray the offerings in the Dao language. According to Mr. Ly Phu Chiu, these were offerings passed down from many generations, with the content of thanking heaven and earth, the gods and the land here for protecting the villagers, crops, and praying for this new year, the people in the villages and hamlets in the commune would have many lucks and advantages, the crops would be lush and bountiful, there would be few natural disasters and epidemics; People and families would be healthy, happy, full, and peaceful.

While the shaman performed the rituals on a high tray close to the cliff, below, the officials and people in Ta Phin villages were busy preparing the ceremony offering tray that would be offered on a small courtyard right in front of the temple after the shaman finished the above ceremony. 
According to Mr. Ly Lao Lo, Chairman of the People's Committee of Ta Phin commune, according to custom, the worshiping ceremony is performed twice a year. Once at the beginning of the new year spring and once in the sixth month of the lunar calendar, when the people have finished planting rice. The worshiping ceremony at the beginning of the new year is considered the ceremony to pray for good fortunate, to ask for help from the gods and the land, so that the fields, houses, and gardens will be successful and convenient. The worshiping ceremony on the occasion of the sixth month of the lunar calendar is considered to give gratitude to heaven and earth, the gods and the land for creating favorable conditions for people to plant and hope that the trees will grow green and bountiful.
Regarding the worshiping ceremony, there are differences between the two occasions. While the worshiping ceremony at the beginning of the year is performed and hosted by the Dao people, the worshiping ceremony in June will be performed by both ethnic groups (Mong and Dao). These are also the two ethnic groups that have accounted for the majority of ethnic groups in Ta Phin commune for many generations. The biggest difference is the offering trays. While the offering tray at the beginning of the new year only consists of 2 trays with the offerings of chicken, sticky rice, flowers and fruits, in June, the offering trays consist of 5 trays, with 1 tray on the shrine and 4 trays on the below, with offerings: pig head, chicken, sticky rice and many other local products. 

The New Year's ceremony of praying for good fortune is carried out in Sa Xeng village, Ta Phin commune, Sa Pa town.

In previous years, the day of worshiping and praying for good fortunate was very crowded and bustling with many unique cultural and artistic activities, such as singing contests of the ethnic groups in the area, folk games, etc. With the local people, this used to be an opportunity for them to meet in early spring, have fun, and pray for good fortunate and happiness. As for the local government, this used to be an opportunity to promote the traditional cultural beauty of the people in the region to attract tourists, contribute to economic development, and preserve the national culture. The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the community activities of the commune in particular and many other localities in general. However, keeping the ceremony to pray for good fortunate at the beginning of the new year is one of the very necessary things to contribute to maintaining the traditional culture of the nation, and at the same time creating satisfaction, excitement and solidarity among the people.   
Ms. Ly Ta May, Ta Chai village, Ta Phin commune said: Every year I used to participate in the local New Year's blessing ceremony and the thanksgiving ceremony in the sixth month of the lunar calendar. In previous years, the worshiping ceremony for New year’s Eve  was very fun. Now, due to the influence of the pandemic, it makes sense not to organize festival activities. For our people, the worshiping ceremony carries many cultural and spiritual meanings, so I hope that no matter what, the worshiping ceremony will always be preserved and promoted.
Ta Phin commune is on the way of development, especially in terms of village tourism. In addition to receiving the attention and investment of the State, the local preservation of national identity as well as many typical cultural features has contributed to many outstanding socio-economic results.

According to LCDT

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