It’s safe to say that few people have never heard of Chuong village’s conical hat. Chuong village is the old Vietnamese name of Phuong Trung village, Thanh Oai district, Hanoi, a place which, for several centuries, have been renowned with its craftsmanship of traditional conical hat. Here is also the place which holds the famous and unique Lang Chuong festival.
The village lies on the bank of the serene Day river situated in Thanh Oai district, Ha Tay. Long ago, the very conical hat made here was brought as a tribute to the royal queen and princess of Vietnam, as well as an important accessories for women, especially young girl. Conical hat made here are famous for their thickness, durability and softness. Until this day, the very same beauty is preserved as a symbol of Vietnamese, as well as unique culture, as well as of Chuong village’s people.
The rural fair and the festival of Cuong village also play an important part in making this village famous.
The Chuong festival is held on March 10th by lunar calendar every year.
The Chuong fair, held on January 10th by lunar calendar, is the biggest fair in the old Ha Đong province, and the longest lasting in our people’s mind. It’s safe to say that the Chuong fair is a blending of many culture aspect in Vietnamese history. The legacy of pagodas culture, of people’s worship of the village’s deities, the agriculture life and the village traditional craftsmanship, they all come together to create a well-blended body. What’s more, the game of chess and the rice-cooking competition are an unique cultural game that fascinates many.
The human chess is a popular folk game, which emphasizes intelligence, with 16 “chess pieces” of male and 16 others of female. According to tradition, two well-respected people with fine looks wil dressed luxuriously as the “Tuong ong” and “Tuong ba”. Only the Tuong ong and Tuong ba will get to sit on a chair with a parasol, and the others must stand on their feet at all time. The person picked as Tuong ong or Tuong ba have to be carefully selected, a person with fine looks and kind-hearted too, and must not have a family member dying recently. After the human chess competition, the Tuong ong and Tuong ba will invite other pieces to come to their home and have a tea party. The house owner will be honorably selected as the “tuong co” ( chess general). The games of human chess are held in front of the village’s temple, right on the marketplace.
The rice-cooking competition will probably set the festival on fire, as the girls demonstrate their cooking skill. The participating girls will compete in a ring of white lime, using rice straw and dry sugar cane to light the fire to cook the rice. Also, at the same time the girls have to make sure a child of under one year old that is not their own doesn’t cry and to make sure a frog doesn’t jump out of the ring. And they also can’t talk and laugh while doing all that. However, after many years, the game has been simplified. All the girls only have to focus on making the best pot of rice for the judges and the villager to taste and score. The winners will be praised for their agility, cleverness and skillfulness.
The boys participating will each sit on a fishing boat made of bamboo, with rice, water, fire wood and tinder already place in the boat. When the elders give the signal, the boys will race from one side of the banks to the other. In this time, even with their hands wet they must find a way to light fire, wash the rice and cook it. Everything will take place on the boat, racing and cooking that the same time will prove extremely difficult. They have to make sure that the boat will not wobble too much, race to the finish, as well as making a perfect pot of rice in time. This will be a fascinating challenge for the boys of Chuong village, which excites. many villagers
Coming to Chuong village festival and joining the fair, visitors will be immersed in the atmosphere of countryside fair and folk games in truly ancient style, abundant and full of historical values.