On 18th February, authorities of Sa Pa district (Lao Cai province) held a festival to act out the “Cap Sac” festival of the Dao Do ethnic in Can Ho village, Ban Khoang commune.
The “Cap Sac” festival – the National Intangible Cultural Heritage
The festival is a unique traditional preserved centuries-old in the Dao Do community. The festival expresses the aspirations of the Dao inhabitants for a comfortable and happy life.
Men who have not passed the ritual yet are not considered maturity and will not be involved with the important works in the village, even though they are old. Because of its cultural values and profound significance for humanism, the “Cap Sac” ritual of the Dao has been proclaimed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism as the National Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The ceremony is usually held in November, December or January every year because it is a leisure time. The inhabitants may organize the ritual for the maximum of 13 persons (if less than that, the number of people taking part in the festival must be the odd number) at a house of the head of the family.
Exploring the “Cap Sac” festival a cultural specificity of the Dao Do ethnic group
At the ceremony, many rituals were represented such as the ritual to welcome the ancestors, incensing, the payroll ceremony, asking for hanging small paintings and so forth. The ceremony has mobilized all kinds of art to serving religious purposes and belief. All kinds of music, architecture, hymns, performances and so on (including dancing, the order of performing rituals, etc) used in the rituals create warm and happy atmosphere.
Besides, the ceremony also organized many special activities such as traditional folk games including blind man’s buff, tug of war and so on, and acting out the traditional wedding of the Dao ethnic minority in Sa Pa. Many traditional folk dances are performed with the participation of many people in the village. The dances of the Dao show the freedom with various topics such as history, daily life visualized by dancing together with singing. The dances can last for hours.
The “Cap Sac” ceremony of the Dao Do inhabitant is a beautiful feature in the traditional culture of the nation. In addition, the festival also has a profound significance of education. The ritual help people properly aware of themselves and the tradition that when you eat a fruit, you have to think of the man who planted the tree, and when you drink water, you have to remember the source. Moreover, people know how to live with personality, morality, responsibility for family and society. Thereby, the ritual has contributed to not only building an advanced culture with national identity but also preserving and promoting of cultural values.
You should not hesitate to plan a trip to Sapa in order to explore the cultural uniqueness of the Dao Do ethnic group.