The 2019 Ba Den Mountain Spring Festival opened at the Ba Den Mountain Historical and Cultural Relic Site in southern Tay Ninh province on February 8 (the fourth day of the Lunar New Year). The opening ceremony was attended by Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Chief of its office Nguyen Van Nen. The festival attracts numerous pilgrims and visitors, who go there to pray for peace and wellbeing throughout the year. Ba Den is considered one of the most famous spiritual lands in the southern region, with an abundant spectrum of pagodas and caves in worship of Linh Son Thanh Mau (Linh Son Holy Mother).
On the same day, thousands of people gathered at Dong Ky village, in the northern province of Bac Ninh, to participate in the local firecracker festival. The festival was honoured as one of the 15 intangible cultural heritages by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The festival was first held to honour General Thien Cuong who helped the legendary Hung Kings fight against invaders and was later considered the tutelary god of the village. After winning the battle, the general celebrated the victory with two huge firecrackers. Since the government banned the use of firecrackers, local people have made firecracker models to perform the ritual. Instead of setting off firecrackers, local people parade the giant firecrackers in a procession. A wide range of activities were also held during the festival such as traditional wrestling, cock fighting, Quan Ho (traditional love duet singing) and many other folk games.
Also in Bac Ninh province, tens of thousands of visitors flocked to Phat Tich pagoda to take part in the peony festival, where they enjoy flowers, listen to quan ho (love duets) and poem recitations, as well as playing traditional games. The pagoda was recognised as a national relic site in 1962 and a special national relic site in 2014. Tien Du district has taken measures to ensure safety for festival goers while protecting the environment.
In Kon Tum, a canoe race took place on the morning of February 8 with the participation of 88 athletes from seven communes along the Dak Bla River in Sa Thay district and Kon Tum city. The event has been organised annually since 2001, attracting thousands of spectators. The organising board presented 31 prizes to the outstanding team and athletes. Among of them, the first prize went to two athletes of Sa Binh commune, Sa Thay disitrict.
A similar canoe race was also held in Krong Ana district in Dak Lak province with the participation of 500 competitors from three local communes, aiming to entertain local people on the occasion of the Tet holiday.
A flower festival also opened in Sun World Fansipan Legend. At the festival, many unique cultural and artistic activities of ethnic minorities in the Northwest are being introduced to tourists. The festival features the participation of six teams with professional and amateur artisans in Sa Pa district and some guests from Yen Bai, Lai Chau and Dien Bien provinces. The festival will take place from now until March 8.