Khau Vai: unique love market in Ha Giang

Published:  08:20 Friday - May 03, 2013 Mentioning Ha Giang in these days, most people think about Khau Vai love market. The Khau Vai love market is now so popular that it has become a tourist attraction for domestic and foreign visitors. This is a unique market of Vietnam in particular and the world in general.

Khau Vai commune, located in Meo Vac district, the northernmost province of Ha Giang, is home to several ethnic minority groups. The love market festival is held on lunar March 26th and 27th with the participation of a large number of locals.

There are some legends around the origin of the market. Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl born from two different places of the Dong Van Plateau. Since forbidden to get married by the two families, they decided to leave home to come and settle down together in Khau Vai. To honor their merits in cultivating the wild land into a rich land, the local people built two temples to worship them.

There is another legend telling the story of a young couple from different tribes who fell in love with each other. The girls belonged to Giay ethnic group and the boy belonged to Nung ethnic group. The girl was so beautiful that her tribe did not want to let her get married with a man from another tribe. Consequently, violent conflict arose between the two tribes.

When they witnessed an aggressive fight between two tribes as a result of their love. they sorrowfully decided to part. However, they would meet once a year on lunar March 26th. The place where they used to meet is Khau Vai.

Now, Khau Vai has not only Nung and Giay people but also Hmong and Dao people. They live in harmony with one another. Being different from the former legends, girls and boys now have freedom of choice their lovers and get married to anyone they love. Khau Vai love market is not only a place for girls and boys who cannot get married to make a date, but also a place for single people who want to find girldfriends or boyfriends.

Each year, the market session takes place from March 26th to March 27th (in lunar calendar). Both the wife and her husband will go to the market together. However, look for their own partners to share emotions. They respect each other’s privacy. If one of them has to stay at home, he or she is not jealous in love because the dating at the marketplace is really a faithful feeling exchange. They respect each other’s privacy only in the market session.

In recent years, Ha Giang has made effort to develop tourism and got achivements. Khau Vai love market has been introduced to domestic and foreign tourists as an unique culture. The market offers tourists an opportunity to learn about legends, performances, and the clothing of ethnic minorities as well as take part in traditional games. 

Translated by Nguyen Quynh

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