Among the many festivals celebrated in Vietnam one of the most interesting festival is the Fisherman’s festival that is celebrated at Can Gio. Also known as Nghinh Ong Festival this festival is celebrated primarily to honor the whale. The whale has for long been considered a close friend of sea farers and fishermen and is worshipped it as the God of the Seas.
This tradition is believed to have its origin in an old fisherman’s tale.
The legend says that one dark, stormy night the gods of the ocean had become very furious. So much so, that they sent perilous hurricanes and torrential rains into the seas where the fishermen were out fishing. The fishermen were in peril and were in danger of being swept away and drowning. Their boats too would have been wrecked to smithereens.
Then, a kindly whale came to the aid of the fishermen and accompanied them to the safety of the shore. The fishermen were grateful and worshipped the giant creature ever since.
The Fisherman's Festival in Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is celebrated in the commune of Can Thanh, Can Gio District, on the 16th day of the eighth lunar month. It is customary for fishermen to not catch fish on this day in order to attend the festival. Shrines, fishing harbors and boats are all beautifully decorated on this day.
The festival is divided into three stages: Le Ruoc Ong where the ancestors of the fishermen are worshipped. In the second stage an offering period of roast white pork, colorful steamed sticky-rice, wine and is made. The main worshipping ceremony is conducted after these two stages.
This festival is one of the many festivals which make life in Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City more colorful. Do visit!