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Pastor festival in Da Nang city

Emperor Shen Nong communal house - Phong Le village

Pastor festival is the festival for the children keeping buffalos. It used to be held in Phong Le village, Hoa Chau, Hoa Vang district, Danang city.

According to Mr Ngo Tan Nha, a ninety - year old man of Phong Le village, Pastor festival used to hold once every 3 years in turns of years Ty (mouse), Ngo (horse), Meo (cat), Dau (hen). Then it used to be held once every 6 years and later once every 12 years. The last time it was held is in the 11th Bao Dai year (1936).

Once upon a time, there was the grassland in Phong Le village. One day, when a man drove the ducks to the grassland, they were trapped. It was rumoured that it was the God that held the ducks and nobody dared to get there. Then they named the grassland 'con THAN' (deity�€™s hillock). One day, there was some buffalos lost in the grassland and the children got there to find them and nothing happened. Therefore, it was thought that the God just allowed the children who keeping the buffalos. This strange story leaded to the festival for the children keeping buffalos called 'PASTOR' festival.

In the last week of March (Lunar Calendar), after fishing their farming work, people begin to prepare for the festival. They choose the men in charge of the festival, prepare 2 sedan chairs decorated with flowers, fruits as well as choose 4 healthy children in formal clothes to carry the sedan chairs. Beside the small flags of the children, there were big flags of 13 families. A tree branch which is put across the hole of 5 metres long big flagstaff to hang the symbols of 'tu linh'(dragon, unicorn, tortoise, phoenix) and 'tu nghe' ('si' - education, 'nong' - agriculture, 'cong' - craft, 'thuong' - trade) as well as the tools like the grub - axe, shovel, etc.

In the afternoon of 29th March (lunar calendar) is the 'dao dong' ceremony. It is the time that the people living far away gather at home. The children carry flags walking around the fields to pray for better crops.

'le ruoc' begin in the early morning of the 30th. After offering the incense sticks, praying, Master pastor (the person in charge of pastors - children keeping buffalos) in formal clothes goes slowly to the back hall to pray and takes the tablet of Agriculture God leveling his brows and puts it on the sedan chair. The sedan chair is decorated like the 'ruoc than' one with the size of 80x100 cm and 4 roofs. The curtain is decorated with flowers and lanterns.

People queue in lines, and all the children look at the main hall praying 3 times. The parade goes across the village paths carrying many flags to 'CON THAN' (deity�€™s hillock) in the music of �€œBat am�€� (octet). At 'CON THAN' (deity�€™s hillock), the sedan chair is lowered down and �€œTrum Muc�€� (Master pastor) sitting on the flowered mat between 2 lines to torches looking upon the sky prayed. After praying, �€œTrum Muc�€� (Master pastor) puts 2 coins into the disk to ask for 'keo'. One coin is upward and the other is downward which means the God come.

The children follow �€œTrum Muc�€� (Master pastor) to and fro shouting and carrying flags. - (31/03/2004)

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