Vietnam bans animal slaughter at violent spring festivals

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has ordered an end to all performances that include either violent or offensive rituals, such as killing animals.

(VNF) - Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has ordered an end to all performances that include either violent or offensive rituals, such as killing animals.

Several festivals still feature violent rituals that involve slaughtering pigs and bull fighting, and that has to stop, the ministry said in a new statement.

Most spring-time rituals in Vietnam were created centuries ago to commemorate ancient war heroes, show respect to the gods and to pray for good health, peace and prosperity. Sometimes these rituals involve the brutal killing of animals in public, like the pig slaughtering festival in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

Nem Thuong villagers celebrate the festival on the sixth day of the first lunar month, which is February 5th this year, to commemorate a general who took refuge in the area while fighting invaders a thousand years ago. He killed wild hogs to feed his soldiers; hence the tradition of slaughtering pigs.

Vietnam bans animal slaughter at violent spring festivals

One of the sacrificial pigs is carried into the ceremony of a spring festival in Bac Ninh Province. (Photo by Animals Asia)

Traditionally, villagers parade two pigs around before beheading them and collecting their blood. Then they dipped bank notes into pools of blood in the belief that doing so will ensure good luck and fortune for the New Year.

The festival has been facing criticism and opposition since 2012, including a petition from the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation, which said the festival was “extremely cruel”. But the villagers have refused to give up their tradition.

Nguyen Dinh Loi, from Nem Thuong's old people's association, said: 'The older generations here say it is the village's choice, that the pig slaughtering does not violate the law and must be decided by the villagers themselves.

'We want to keep the traditions of our ancestors.'

Many spring festivals involve hundreds of people scrambling to touch good luck charms, and this can break out into fighting.

This is the first time the ministry asked local authorities to stop any fighting, gambling or begging at the upcoming spring festivals. The ministry also said that the number and the scale of spring festivals must be scaled down.

It remains to be seen whether locals are willing to abandon their traditional rituals./.

( Compiled by VNF )

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09:44 | 03/02/2023
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