As part of the HỘI AN LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2017 (Year of the Rooster) we made sure we didn't miss the Boat Race, held on February 2nd, 2017.
Like many festivals in Hoi An, Long Chu is a religious ceremony that concentrates on warding off ghosts and evil from the villages, while bringing luck and peace for the people.
An important part of the rituals is the casting of magic spells on 'ghosts' that carry these ailments. These ghosts are then cast into the river, to be discarded later in the sea. After these rituals is the grand finale, a boat race!
Team Cửa Đại burning incense and throwing paper into the water to bless the event and for good luck .. unfortunately, more garbage into the water.
One benefit of living right here is that we can get up, have breakfast, walk around the corner and watch the next festival or event. This year, Feb 2nd Hoi An's fishermen took to their boats for the annual island boat race at 9am. It was another rainy day, but it seemed everyone turned out to watch the race. We heard, last year over 5000 people turned up to cheer on their team, and as you will notice from our photos, it certainly was packed again this year.
Teams descend from all areas of Quang Nam to take part in the event... and before this photo was taken, they had been practicing all morning and were pumped.
Leaving Mark & Julie on An Hoi, we walked over the bridge to Hoi An to watch the boat race. Here is a photo of the crowds on our little island.
We laughed as we witnessed a popular old tradition of throwing water at the boat handlers to bring them good luck. It looked as if they meant to sink them!
It was very exciting to watch the boats round the mark and hilarious to witness the boats clearly missing the mark. Did they have to go around again? Nope! Were they penalized for touching the mark? Nope! Evidently if you miss the mark, the first boat handler grabs the mark and brings the boat to a stop, then pulls the mark around the front and off they go. For most of the race, they approached the mark, and the lead boat handler whacked the mark (like a baseball swing) to the side forcing the mark to bend allowing them to clear the mark.
Sometimes they would all arrive at the mark and it was comical to watch them fight their way around one point of entry, coming at it from all directions trying to take the inside pushing off the rest. It worked for the most part, but as you will see, this boat just didn't get it right and tipped over. In the water the boat handlers, probably not able to swim, had to dodge the other boats as they paddled right over their capsized boat and continued to race.
This years winner and congratulations goes to Team Thanh Ha!
And Second place goes to Team Trung Chau!