Vieng Market Festival

Published:  20:47 Wednesday - December 29, 2010 Legend has it that Vieng market islinked somehow to the person who brought copper casting to the area, Nguyen Minh Khong, so people who go the market feel that they will get lucky if they buy something made of copper at Vieng market on this day.

Themarket opens on the 8th of lunar January; nevertheless, the mostspiritual moment falls on the night of the 7th and early 8th. That isthe moment of heavenly-earthly, positive-negative exchange. Accordingto the popular belief, at the time, men and Gods could reach togetherand all the prayers could be perceived more clearly. Trade could at thetime take place smoothly. Consequently, there are 40,000-50,000 peoplecoming to the market on the night of 7th let alone. The market on thenight of 7th is called “Cho am phu” (Hades Market). There are about10,000-12,000 people coming to the market on the following 8th. Themarket-goers not only just enjoy the market atmosphere but also bringalong the feeling toward Mother, praying for fortune and favourablenature, rich crops, happy family. They buy and sell just for aspirationat luck in the rest of the year.

Viengmarket is actually typical to an agricultural countryside that is richin natural products, a kind of radiant open-air “fair” produced by thelocal farmers, especially ornamental plants, speciality crops, subtlecraft articles, utensils, bronze and iron-made tools, etc. This springmarket displays handicraft products, antiquities and false antiquities,utensils, tools for agriculture production, and many kinds ofornamental plants. Specialities are barbecued beef and “bánh dày”(sticky rice cake).

Thecheapest things at Vieng would be flowers and trees, which bring boththe buyer and seller happiness and luck. From around 2a.m, deals aredone under the light of candles or flash-lights. Deals are agreedquickly, as people believe, to keep the luck. From 6a.m, local peoplebring farming tools such as hoes and sickles to sell, which relateclosely to their lives. Buyers believe that the tools will bring themhealth and richness. Vieng market also is also a place to relax. Loverswould find themselves or their happy future here.

Aboveall, everyone visiting the market just wish to buy the burnt veal atany cost, which is considered the indispensable gift from the marketand bliss from fair of the Vieng market-goers. Accordingly, althoughthe Vu Ban residents travelled anywhere, they just thought of thefolk-song as a reminder:

"Enjoying the New Year’s day at home on the 1st
Engaging sports festival at communal house on the 2nd
Going to Qua Linh market on the 4th
Then Trinh market on 5th and Goi market on 6th
The following 7th is just for rest
Packing and travelling to Vieng market on 8th
Because it just takes place once a year."

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