Praying for Rain Dance: Special Celebration of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority - Video

The Lo Lo minority group's rain praying rite is a celebration you do not want to miss when in Ha Giang, northern Vietnam.
December 15, 2021 | 16:03
Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
Lễ cầu mưa, or Rain praying ritual is one of the most important ceremonies for Lo Lo minority group. Photo: VnExpress

Lễ cầu mưa is a special rite that wishes for the ancestors and the gods' blessings for the Lo Lo ethnic. With the Lo Lo ethnic minority people in Dong Van and Meo Vac village, Ha Giang province, the rite is also a celebration where young people mingle, party, and have a good time.

When in Ha Giang, make sure to visit these villages and you will receive the warmest welcome. The Lo Lo people might seem shy but they are party people at heart. Many tourists left with unforgettable memories, like dancing with the locals, watching the drum performances, drinking hot wine.

The colorful spirit world of the Lo Lo group

Video Source: Di Di Ky Youtube Channel

The Lo Lo holds many festivals and ceremonies each year – dancing on a tree, picking corn, and praying for rain, for example. Worthy of note is their ancestor worship ritual in the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2012.

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
Dancing is the essential part of the Lo Lo group's traditional rituals. Photo: VnExpress

The rain praying festival is observed in the 3rd lunar month in the field. When there is no rain in the 3rd lunar month, the head of the villages and the elder community organize a rain praying ritual on the 13th day of the month. When it’ is raining, they will begin to farm. All villagers contribute offerings.

They prepare 1 rooster, 2 dogs, 1 wooden or iron sword, wine, a bamboo tube to hold incense, and votive paper. They play bronze drums and a two-string fiddle during the ritual. There are male and female drums representing heaven and earth, the father and mother of the universe, cited from Vietnam Tonkin Travel.

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
A young Lo Lo women. Photo: VnExpress

When the offerings are arranged at the worship place, the elder shamans invite genies to come to the ceremony and bless the people with favorable weather and plentiful crops.

The Lo Lo ethnic group is one of 16 ethnic groups with less than 10,000 people residing mainly in Ha Giang province. In Ha Giang there are two main Lo Lo groups: Lo Lo Den (Black Lo Lo) and Lo Lo Hoa (Colorful Lo Lo). Lot Lo Den ethnic can be found in Lung Cu commune, while Lo Lo Hoa in Lung Tao, Sung La, Dong Van and Meo Vac districts.

Although they have different names, the Lo Lo Den and Lo Lo Hoa people only differ in their attires, but the language, customs and traditions are the same. Lo Lo people's dances captivate many tourists, both domestic and international.

Life of the party

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
The Lo Lo Hoa people, living in Sang Pa A hamlet, Meo Vac town, Meo Vac district are preparing for the Rain Praying Ceremony. Photo: VnExpress

A remarkable cultural sign of the Lolo ethnic group is a set of bronze drums which they use during important rites dedicated to ancestors and funerals. As a symbol of the soul of the people, the bronze drum makes the bridge connecting the world of the living and that of the spirits.

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
The set of bronze drum makes the bridge connecting the world of the living and that of the spirits.Photo: VnExpress

Festivals and village gatherings are popular among the youth. Unmarried Lo Lo people spend these events dancing the night away. They partner up, get to know each other, and hopefully start a new relationship. Out of respect for their beliefs, a loving couple will ask for help from two married couples whose presence is supposed to bring happiness and luck to their family life.

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
Lo Lo women put on their most beautiful clothes for the rites. Photo: VnExpress
Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority
Festivals and village gathering is popular among the youth. Photo: VnExpress

The required offerings prepared by the young man will be brought to a male elder (often the little brother of the mother of his future spouse). In addition, there are many other unique customs, like the uncle will play a decisive role in the distribution of property in the family; or in the event of the death of one of the parents, couples are required to wait at least one year afterwards to organize the wedding ceremony.

Unique Rite of Rain Praying of Lo Lo Ethnic Minority

Lo Lo people's dances captivate tourists' hearts. Photo: VnExpress

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