Vam Lang Festival

Vam Lang is an estuary in Kieng (Canh) Phutfc commune, Go Cong district, Tien Giang province. The local people practice the cult of whale.
Remains of a whale are now kept at the Vam Lang temple as relic and the local people refer to them by the term “Lord”. A festival in honour of the Lord is held on the 15th-16th days of the 6th lunar month every year.
At the midnight of the 15th day, Buddhist monks come to the Temple to chant Buddhist sutras for more than one hour. When they have finished the chanting, the votive offerings (cakes, fruits) are distributed to children. The big cung nghinh (carrier) boat, elaborately decorated, carries the altar with a roasted pig as sacrifice for the Lord, as well as village notables, musicians and female singers, from Vam Lang to the Soai Rap estuary (a distance of about 2 km).
Here, the ritual of invoking the Lord’s spirit is conducted to the accompaniment of the musical band. After three rounds of offering to the Lord incense, alcohol and tea, the boat comes back to the Vam Lang estuary. Along the river, we can see boats and houses beautifully decorated with flowers, flags and lamps. Families place altars on the two banks to welcome the cung nghinh boat, or, as they believe, the whale Lord to the festival.
The festival truly starts when the cung nghinh boat has reached the Vam Lang destination. The Lord’s altar is carried back to the temple. Then, different ceremonies in his honour follow. Rumour has it that, sometimes, whales may be seen during the festival.

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