16Place Tra Co Village, Mong Cai Town.
Time: Festivities in Tra Co take place yearly from the last day of the fifth lunar month until the sixth day of the sixth lunar month.
Significance: Nearly 600 years ago, Tra Co people built a communal house dedicated to the tutelary genies of the village. The festival celebrates the merit of the tutelary genies and brings good lucks for villagers.
Tra Co the is located at the start of the S-shape of Vietnam. The inhabitants of Tra Co originate from Do Son.
Quan He (Nguyen Huu Cau), a leader of the peasants who rose up during the Le – Trinh period is also worshipped here. Representative of village communal house architecture of Vietnam, the building is still well preserved.
On the 25th day of the fifth lunar month, a procession of boats sails from Tra Co to the ancestors’ native land of Do Son. On the 30th day of the fifth lunar month, the boats return to Tra Co.
The next day, festivities begin with the procession of the King to the sea (also named the procession of the King to the shrine). It is accompanied by an armed troop, an orchestra, a strong and handsome young man chosen by the village population holding the flag and people carrying palanquin.
After the ritual procession, there are agricultural contests, such as a pig-breeding competition. The animals receive intensive care many months in advance from their masters in hopes of getting the first prize. There is also a cooking contest, with the best cooks acquiring fame throughout the village.
On the sixth day, the festivities conclude with a flower dance. In this ritual, the population pray to the genies to allow them to catch many fish, have good luck in their trading activities and to have a prosperous lives.