Ook om bok Festival


Ook om bok Festival

Place: Soc Trang (Sóc Trăng) Province, Vietnam

Time: 15th of the 10th lunar month.

Characteristics: a festival to thank the Moon.

Ook Om Bok Festival in Vietnam is a religious ceremony when the moon god of Khmer minority group is worshipped in Soc Trang Province of South Vietnam. One of the most prominent of the festivals of Vietnam, it falls in October as per the Gregorian calendar and on December 15th of the Buddhist calendar.

Ook Om Bok Festival, Vietnam is celebrated to thank the moon god for bringing good crops, abundant fish in the river and maintain the health of all the villagers. The moon deity is offered prayers to shower her blessings upon the villagers and lead them to prosperity.

As the full moon appears on the night of the Ook Om Bok Festival in Vietnam, people deposit trays of offerings in the pagoda yard or in their homes. The offering includes green rice flakes, ripe bananas, fresh peeled coconuts, mangoes and other items. At the end of the ceremony, the children of the house sit on the ground and clap their hands while they are fed a hand full of green rice flakes by the elders.

The most colorful event of the Ook Om Bok Festival is the flying of paper lanterns and placing banana tree ferries attached with lights in the river. This is believed to sweep away the darkness and humidity of the rainy season.

Like all other Vietnam festivals & events Ook Om Bok Festival, Vietnam is also a festival of fun. The traditional Ngo boat (Vietnamese: ghe ngo, a wooden boat carved on both bow and stern) race is the highlight of the day next to the full moon night. This race is marked by the participation of many enthusiastic viewers who scream and encourage the participants to reach the finishing line first. The completion of the boat race signifies the completion of the villager’s responsibility to the moon god.

Beside, on this period at this Soc Trang Province, there is also Ngo Boat Race. The Ngo Boat, called Tuk Ngo in the Khmer language, is a free trunk carved in the shape of a diamond with curved ends. The navigation of such a boat requires practice and skill because it can easily be capsized. This festival organized as a cultural sport, attracts hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators.

The Khmer celebrate another festival called “Eating Green Rice Flakes”, which takes place during the Khmer New Year. This celebration for the new rice, which is similar to the celebrations of many other ethnic groups, is organized to honor Buddha and to show gratitude to the Mekong River for bringing the water used for irrigating the crops.