ex. Game, Music, Video, Photography

Playing with fire: exorcising demons in Vietnam

The ceremony is a proud display of culture, defined by a belief that everything in the universe possesses a soul.

Ngày đăng: 16 tháng 9, 2021
Cập nhật: 17 tháng 1, 2023
Lượt xem: 318426586
Nguồn: vnexpress

Deep in a trance and impervious to the heat of burning coals underfoot, lithe young men prance across piles of glowing embers at a ritual fire dance to exorcise spiritual demons and pray for a healthy harvest.

Once dismissed as superstitious and banned by the Vietnamese authorities, the fire dance is now performed publicly by the Pa Then ethnic minority after decades when they celebrated in the woods in secret.

"Everyone here is so excited to see it," said first-time observer Hua Manh Linh, who joined hundreds to watch the hours-long nighttime ritual by the animist Pa Then people in the northern province of Tuyen Quang.

The evening starts with an offering to the gods: a whole boiled hog atop a platter of its own intestines. Logs are stacked in a two-meter (six-foot) tall tower ready to be lit nearby.

The shaman leading the ceremony taps a traditional string instrument to invoke spirits.

Soon the dancers are possessed: their eyes glaze over, their bodies jerk around, and they say the spirits shield them from the hot coals they are about to leap onto.

"It feels like jumping into a bath, and when the priest asks us to stop, we stop, otherwise we'll get burned," said Ho Van Truong, who has danced in the past, though not this year because he said couldn't invoke any spirits.

For him, the ceremony is a proud display of Pa Then culture, defined by a belief that everything in the universe possesses a soul.

A Pa Then ethnic dancer removing burning ashes during a fire dance. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

The dance was driven underground in the 1960s and 1970s as the authorities cracked down on so-called superstitious rituals, according to historian Nguyen Van Huy.

But since the country started opening up in the late 1980s, the ritual crept back into public life.

Today it is listed as intangible cultural heritage by the government, and performed at museums and ethnic minority festivals.

But Huy warns that turning the dance into a public spectacle risks cheapening its sanctity.

"(It's) now getting more popular, and is performed more and more, so I worry about its sacred value, whether it will be preserved or lost in time," said Huy, author of "Cultural Mosaic of Ethnic Groups in Vietnam".

Pa Then shaman Sin Van Phong says his concern is that younger generations, perhaps more rapt with mobile phone apps than centuries-old rituals, will let the fire dance fade.

"The biggest challenge is passing the job on to younger generations, young people don't want to learn about the ceremony now," he said.

Pa Then ethnic men getting possessed prior to a fire dance during a local spring festival. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

Related news:

Bring the monsters out with this Vietnamese spring festival

Ghosts make audacious break-out from gates of hell

Vietnam's parents' festival: time for kids to repay their debts


Từ vựng liên quan

Tin tức liên quan

 Man gets death for faking own death with nephew
news 28/03/2021

Man gets death for faking own death with nephew's murder

news | 132686605

A former commune party secretary in the Central Highlands’ Lam Dong Province was sentenced to death Friday for murdering his nephew in a ploy to get insurance money.

Three companies want to move their stocks out of overloaded main bourse
business 15/09/2021

Three companies want to move their stocks out of overloaded main bourse

business | 314096569

Three companies have applied to temporarily move their listed stocks from the overloaded main exchange in HCMC to Hanoi.

 Three cars for HCMC’s 1st metro route arrive
news 28/03/2021

Three cars for HCMC’s 1st metro route arrive

news | 123336604

Three of 51 Japanese-made cars meant for HCMC’s first metro line arrived at a city port on Thursday.

 Guess how much pilots make in Vietnam: Enough to keep them flying
business 03/04/2021

Guess how much pilots make in Vietnam: Enough to keep them flying

business | 182236593

A Vietnam Airlines pilot now earns $5,100 a month after many of them threatened to quit.

Carriers, ground transport crippled by coronavirus epidemic
business 22/09/2021

Carriers, ground transport crippled by coronavirus epidemic

industries | 333866564

The Covid-19 outbreak has cost Vietnamese airlines an estimated VND10 trillion ($430.5 million), and rail and road transport firms a large proportion of traffic.

Detention basin adopts alien color, releases foul smell
news 10/09/2021

Detention basin adopts alien color, releases foul smell

news | 279606570

A detention basin in the southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has adopted a pink-purple hue while exuding a foul smell for over a week, disrupting life in the area.

Politburo to submit nominations for ministers, auditor general
news 22/10/2022

Politburo to submit nominations for ministers, auditor general

news | 423626557

The Party Politburo will make recommendations at its next plenary for the new ministers of Transport and Health as well as the State Auditor General to the National Assembly.

 Vietnam brings 340 citizens home from US
news 27/03/2021

Vietnam brings 340 citizens home from US

news | 99136601

Vietnam brought home 343 citizens from the U.S., the world’s Covid-19 epicenter, on a Vietnam Airlines direct flight Friday.

 Posted: Facebook appoints Vietnamese woman as national director
business 02/04/2021

Posted: Facebook appoints Vietnamese woman as national director

companies | 181076597

Le Diep Kieu Trang will be taking charge of Facebook's Vietnam operations from its office in Singapore.

 World Bank cuts Vietnam GDP growth projection to 4.8 pct
business 28/08/2021

World Bank cuts Vietnam GDP growth projection to 4.8 pct

economy | 238276588

The World Bank has lowered its growth forecast for Vietnam this year by two percentage points to 4.8 percent as Covid-19 weighs on the economy.

Link Tài Trợ - Sponsored Links

Công Thức Vật Lý
Loading…