Praying for rain festival ( also known as Xen Xo Phon ) is borned and formed with the intangible cultural treasure of the Thai. The festival is a unique cultural feature of the Thai
The conception about the praying for rain festival
The Thai people in Northwest area Vietnam think that the god in charge of the weather loves the children without father to build house so he didn’t create rain which make the earth get drought. The reason for the drought is the fault of pregnant women without getting married. The Thai people have to celebrate the festival with the hope of sending their aspiration to the god and punishing the guilty women.
A woman is decorating the tree to prepare for the festival
Time to celebrate the festival
The praying for rain festival of the Thai people takes place at the beginning of rain season ( late October and early November of the lunar year)
The ceremony part of the festival brings the spiritual element to teach people and the worshiping the god ruling the weather is the main part. The festival is full of young men and women while the elders stay at home welcoming the music performance team to pray for rain. The team has more than 50 people. Each of them bought hats, raincoat ( made of palm leaves). They voluntarily make two lines a wide yard of the village.
Me Mai (the sorcerer) – an old woman – leads a delegation to every house to ask for offerings. They will come to the family with oldest woman in the village first. When the delegation comes to the woman’s house, the leader invites her to join the praying for rain festival. Then they all sing the praying for rain song.
When the song is ended, every one sings again. At that time, the old woman appears in a colorful costume water one by one until all become wet. Then they sing a song to show their thankfulness. They continue going to other houses. They will receive some offering from the host such as a pack of salt or a pack of sticky rice.
The deligation is reaching to the worshiping place
After visiting all the families of the villages, the deligation comes back to the yard to light the torch. Every one hold a torch in their hand, march around the village and then go to the stream near the village. all the torches are bunched into two or three piles. They divided into men group and women group bailing out the water until they all become wet. It is also the time praying for rain festival ends.
The Thai people dancing in the festival
Xen Xo Phon festival plays an important part in a religious and cultural activity of the Thai ethnic minority group. The festival is related to the material and moral life of the villagers, the harvest, the health of the community during a year. Thus this is an important festival that attracts a large number of ethnic groups.
Through the paying for rain festival, the Thai people would like to send a message with the hope of having a better waether, prosperous life. Moreover, they assert that there is a mutual commection between nature and human. The respect for nature and enviroment is also the respect for their lives.