Sapa is the place of residence of many ethnic minorities. Each group has its own unique festivals and customs for tourists to discover. In particular, Xa Pho is an ethnic group which has a lot of attractively strange festivals. Let’s discover the three peculiar festivals of Xa Pho ethnic group in Sapa to partly understand the ethnic cultures in the northwest of Vietnam in your Sapa tours.
The village sweeping festival
This festival takes place on the hour of horse and goat in every February lunar calendar. According to the belief of Xa Pho ethnic group, February is the time when a lot of hungry ghosts come back to their village and tease local people. Therefore, they organize the village sweeping festival to wish a peaceful new year, an abundant crop and healthy animals. Before the day of the ceremony, the heads of all households in the village usually meet at the oldest person’s house to discuss the preparation for the festival.
In this festival, all members of the village have to pay tribute by pigs, chickens, goats, dogs, rice and so on. All of these offerings are used to worship ghosts. During the ceremony, villagers paint their faces colorfully and dance together to wish the blessing for their families. All the food must be all eaten and it is not allowed to bring to the village.
The banana’s flower festival
It is annually held on the ninth day of September lunar calendar. This is a unique festival showing the spiritual culture of Xa Pho ethnic group in Sapa, which is a chance to discover their unique culture in your Sapa Vietnam tours. Traditionally, the banana’s flower festival takes places in a family, a family group or the whole village. This festival is considered to be a gathering place for entertaining, praying, singing, dancing, expressing the solidarity of all villagers and the gratitude for the ancestors. In the banana’s flower festival, Xa Pho people forbid bringing anything out of the house.
In preparation for the festival, all families attending the festival will bring their offerings such as rice, chicken, wine, three grilled birds, fish sauce and chili salt to the host family. After being processed dishes, all dishes are divided into two trays: one for men and one for women.
The new rice ceremony
This ceremony is named “Giày xí mà”. It is usually held on the day of dragon or serpent depending on each family. However, if this family organize it before the ninth day of September lunar calendar, the oldest woman in the family will have to directly harvest their crop. After the golden panicle of rice has been transported to the house, the family will start the ceremony to worship their ancestors. Usually, the offering tray is the result of the hard labor in a year. It includes sticky rice made from new rice, boiled chicken, cups of wine and some incenses. Especially, in some Xa Pho villages in your Sapa tours, the ritual offerings are carefully prepared with a large number of elaborate items such as 2-3 dried fishes, 3-5 dried mice, 1-3 birds, a bowl of fish sauce, a small bowl of chili salt paste and four pairs of chopsticks. After fishing preparing these offerings, the owner put all of them on the rattan tray placed in front of the altar.