Second to none Love Market in the Vietnamese Mountains

1/1/2015 12:00:00 AM

Most people cannot put up with the thought of their spouse even contacting their exes, let alone talking to them. But things are different in a small community of Vietnam. A yearly love market is held in the hillside village of Khau Vai, in Ha Giang province, 500km north of Hanoi, near the border with China. This is a famous love market of Vietnam’s northern mountainous region, which will bring you an unforgetable emotion of love and local lifestyle once you indulge in.

 Khau Vai Love Market takes place each year, on the 26th and the 27th of the third month of the lunar calendar. Hundreds of ex-lovers from various hill tribal minority groups like Nung, Tay, H’Mong, Lo Lo, Dzao, Giay are reunited during these two days. They walk on foot from various mountainous districts nearby to be able to spend two days with the ones they could not marry with. This is a unique market of Vietnam in particular and the world in general.

The people of Khau Vai have a strong reason for celebrating their love market. It has been a part of their tradition for many generations, originating from a local legend. The story is rather sad – an ethnic Giay girl from Ha Giang had fallen in love with a Nung boy from Cao Bang, but her tribe did not want her to marry a man from another community. What followed was a bloody war between the two tribes. As the lovers witnessed the tragedy that surrounded their lives, they decided to split up. But their love did not die there. A secret pact was made between the lovers to meet each other once a year in Khau Vai– on the 27th day of the third Lunar month to remind them of the forbidden love. The tradition is still being carried on today.

Khau Vai Love Market is now popular with domestic and foreign visitors. Some of the other activities at the festival are a trade-tourism fair and a performance on the ritual of rain-worship of the ethnic Lo Lo people, an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Folk games like: shuttlecock, cock- fighting, seesaw are a part of the love market as well. Local cuisines and colorful traditional costumes are added into beautiful scenery. Nowhere else in the world has an entire festival been created around the simple act of meeting one’s ex-lover.

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