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Whale Processing Festival in Mekong Delta

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Whale processing festival is a unique cultural activity of coastal provinces in Mekong Delta. It not only meets the demand of cultural and religious activities of Mekong Delta communities but also helps to introduce culture and custom of coastal provinces to inbound and outbound tourists.

Whale Processing Festival in Mekong Delta

Whale Processing Festival in Mekong Delta inherits cultural and religious values of it in the central coastal provinces and creates new and unique characteristics of local culture. Due to the immigration of people from different land, Mekong Delta is a multi-cultural land with various customs, rituals and folk art as well as system of festival, especially Whale Processing Festival.

Whale Processing is an annual festival taking place in the middle of the second month in Lunar Calendar. This is the most favorable time in the year with pleasant weather and tranquil sea. In the belief of fishermen in Mekong Delta, before pushing off, they often offer their Whale God with offerings and ask permission from God for a safe and lucky journey. Whale God Shrine is traditionally located on the passageway of ships which is also the place for operating Whale Processing ceremony.

Fishermen in coastal provinces of Mekong Delta often offer fried pig and fresh pig together with flowers, incense, tea and wine. Whale Processing Ceremony is divided into two main parts: sacrifice ceremony and processing ceremony. In the sacrifice ceremony, the head representative will divide the offerings into equal parts. Due to its most importance and sacred meaning, the division of sacrificial animals is seriously conducted.

The next part is the processing ceremony with the participation of almost fishermen in the region. Regularly, the Whale Processing ceremony starts from the southwest because people believe that the southwest stands for the favorable weather and tranquil sea.

Interestingly, during the festival Whale is revered as “Sir Whale”. In fishermen’s perception, there are many taboos in worshipping and offering Whale God: no women, no turtles and cats or monitors on the boats, no movement of table of offerings on the ships, so on. These taboos have created the distinction between the secular and the sacred, the real and the virtual, the good and the evil; and built up the way of living of fishermen here.

Thanks to Whale Processing Festival, fishermen in Mekong Delta have raised awareness of preserving cultural and historical sites as well as strengthened the close connection between fishermen in the spirit "Be ready to help each other in hardship".

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