Vietnam city braced for buffalo festival

16th Jul 2013

It's one of the most vibrant festivals and events of the Vietnam tourism calendar - with foreign tourists already making a note in their diary for this autumn's buffalo bonanza.

September 13 is when thousands of people will gather at the stadium of Do Son Town, Haiphong City to see the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival.

The festival has attracted not only locals but also thousands of international tourists on group tours in recent years.

The spectacular, which is rich in legend, allows local people to pray for prosperity and happiness.

The preparation for the buffalo fighting festival is elaborate.

Competing buffalo are meticulously selected and methodically trained months in advance.

The traditional festival kicks off with a colourful procession, with a ceremony held in every village.

Each one is chaired by its figurehead to pray for the victory at the buffalo fight.

Legend has it that centuries ago, a god caused a severe drought.

All creatures looked seawards, praying for god's approval.

When things reached their nadir, people suddenly saw two buffalo fighting fiercely on the crest of the waves and the rains started to hose down, reviving all life forms.

Locals organise the fighting performance to show not only their gratitude to this happening, but also their desire for the immortal vitality and strength of the coastal population of Haiphong.

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