Exploring our land

New rice festival of the Co Ho

Along with gongs, folk melodies and traditional costumes, the new rice festival also contributes to creating the distinct culture of the Co Ho ethnic minority in the Central Highlands.


Nho lir bong (new rice festival) is considered one of the important and unique festivals of the Co Ho - Sre which recently has been reintroduced at the Cultural Village Tourism of Ethnic Groups in Vietnam, in Hanoi. 

  Preparing for the ceremony. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

Chicken blood is put on the neu tree, the front of a gong, and the forehead of attendees at the festival.

Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP 

  The hamlet elder blows the horn to begin the festival. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

  Rituals of the new rice festival. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP 

After the crops have been harvested, and the villagers carry the rice to the warehouse, it is time for people in the Co Ho tribes to celebrate, to thank Giang (their god) for giving the villagers a year of favorable weather conditions, lush and grain-laden rice fields.

  The hamlet elder wears copper cuffs and offers wine to the guests and the villagers. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP. 

    A performance of the gong team to welcome guests to the festival. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

  Co Ho girls perform dances surrounding the neu tree. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP 

Offerings for the ceremony are prepared carefully, including can wine, rice, dried fish, steamed glutinous rice and fruit. At the ceremony, the locals perform a ritual to offer sacrifices to their god. Depending on the crop that year, whether it is a bumper or poor crop, sacrifices are made with a buffalo, goat or chicken.

On festival day, when the villagers have gathered around the neu tree, the village elder will blow three horns and respectfully pray to Giang and the other gods for the villagers to open the festival. Then the village elder begins the sacrifice ritual with a rooster. The blood of this rooster is applied to the neu tree, on the front of gongs and on the foreheads of villagers to pray for health, luck and a bumper crop next year.

When the gongs have been lowered, a dance team will perform around the neu tree while the villagers play gongs to welcome guests. Next is the opening of a jar of can wine and the village elder offers wine to Giang and then invites guests and locals to drink the wine and to wear beads and copper rings. The gong team continuously moves around the tree with the dance team while singing the sweet lyrics of the song “Nhu to nom”.

After the ritual is the festival part with fascinating performances with gongs and dances. The villagers together drink wine, dance and sing their traditional folk songs and hope for a bumper crop next year.

By Viet Cuong Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

The Tu Cai Ceremony of the Dao Dau Bang

The Tu Cai Ceremony of the Dao Dau Bang

The Tu Cai ceremony, also known as Le cap sac, for the Dao Dau Bang in Ho Thau Commune, Tam Duong District, Lai Chau Province, is typically organized in the last months of the year. This ritual holds special significance in the life of every Dao man.