Ban Vuong festival is one of the traditional festivals of the Dao ethnic group throughout the country, of which Quang Ninh province has recently restored and preserved this unique cultural feature.
The Dao ethnic group has a long history of migration due to war and climate change. During that time, they gradually divided into many smaller groups, with changes in language and clothing. Beliefs, folk cultures, and housing also have differences.
However, the Dao branches have a common point, that is the worship of Ban Vương. The worship of Ban Vương and the Ban Vương festival are typical customs in the spiritual life of the Dao people in Ba Che, Quang Ninh and the Dao people in general.
Legend has it that Ban Hồ (Ban Vương) is a three-span long dragon with black and gold fur, which was always cherished by King Bình Vương. One day, Cao Vương raised an army to invade, causing people to suffer. The king sent many brave warriors to guard the border.
Ban Hồ then proposed a strategy to help the king defeat Cao Vương. After suppressing the invaders, Ban Hồ suddenly transformed into a handsome and brave young man, and King Bình Vương joyfully married Princess Tam Công and conferred the title of Vương on Ban.
They had 12 children, six boys and six girls, whom King Bình Vương bestowed on 12 clans. After the king’s death, Ban Vương ascended the throne but still maintained a simple way of life, teaching people how to grow rice and weave cloth. After Ban Vương’s death, his descendants have continued to maintain the tradition of organizing ceremonies to commemorate him, which is the Ban Vương festival.
The Ban Vương ceremony is a humane ritual that reminds people of their origins. The ritual is also a thread that connects the community, clans, and villages.
The Ban Vương festival is also organized to introduce and promote the cultural characteristics, rituals, and beliefs of the Dao ethnic group in Ba Chẽ district. It also recreates some rituals, such as the “sea crossing” journey of 12 Dao clans on 12 boats to a new land to establish a career.
In addition, there are rituals to offer specialties and fruits to worship Ban Vương at the Ban Vương temple, and some typical rituals to pray for good weather, good harvests, and happiness.
From early morning, representatives of the 12 Dao clans dressed in their most beautiful and magnificent traditional costumes gather at the boat pier, the area around the temple to prepare for the festival’s activities.