Exploring our land

Dao Tien’s Crop-praying Ceremony

One of the most important events of Dao Tien ethnic minority in Moc Chau district, Son La province is the crop-praying ceremony or dancing festival. It takes place annually over two to three days to give thanks to the gods and pray for peace and luck.

Preparing for the ceremony.

Although the ceremony is organized within the clan, it has a common meaning for the whole community living in the area. Every year, the Dao Tien clans rotate to organize the crop-praying ceremony. On the last day of the lunar year, families of the clan bring offerings such as rice, chicken and alcohol to the head of the clan’s house. They prepare offerings and plant the crop-tree made from a good piece of bamboo. The clan members make banh day (sticky rice round cake) to hang on the tree, reflecting a bumper crop and then plant the tree in front of the clan’s altar.

The Dao people wear the most beautiful costumes in the festival.
Musical instruments of the Dao Tien are used to implement rituals of the ceremony
The Dao hangs the traditional paintings at the ceremony. 

They hang banh day on the tree to wish bumper crops.

The crop-paying ceremony is a precious chancefor members of the Dao Tien community to gettogether and a time for reunion and celebration ofrelationships. It brings people closer together andconnects the community firmly for generations.


      When the preparation is completed, the head of the clan conducts the ritual to invite the ancestors and gods to attend the        festival. On the first day of the lunar year, some people get up early to dance with the aim of banishing evils and the bad         things of the last year. Then, they dance to pray for luck and peace for their clan in the new year.

The most unique feature of the ceremony of the Dao Tien is the ritual part. They often perform worship rituals while dancing, reading rhymed poems to the sound of musical instruments such as bells and drums. Women can attend different part of the ceremony, excepting the beginning and closing rituals. All family of the members dance around the crop-tree during the ceremony.

On the first day of the festival, locals hold a ritual to invite their gods and ancestors to enjoy the ceremony.
Bells and drums are used as musical instruments at the festival.
They dance to chase away evils and unlucky things of the last year.
A visitor is interested in the Dao ceremony. 

After the closing ritual, the head of the clan selects two people who are reputable, healthy and well-off to dance and to pray for wealth, good weather and a bumper harvest for their families and all of the villagers.

The ceremony is an attracting communal activity that helps promote a close bond among members in the Dao Tien community. It not only shows the local belief about a new bumper crop and a peaceful life, but also contributes to enriching the cultural picture of ethnic communities in Moc Chau, Son La.



By VIET CUONG Translated by SONG AN

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