Ca Mau's Song Doc Nghinh Ong Festival recognized as national intangible heritage

The annual Nghinh Ong (Whale Worshiping) Festival 2021 in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau took place on March 26-27 with many cultural activities, including a ceremony to announce the decision of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism on the recognition of Nghinh Ong (Whale Worshiping) festival in Tran Van Thoi District’s Song Doc Town as a national intangible cultural heritage.
This year’s event was organized under strict preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual festival is usaully celebrated on the 13th-15th days of the second lunar month with festivities including various rituals to worship the Lord Whale or Ca Ong, and prayers for good seas, happiness and prosperity. Fishermen believe whales are sacred and bring them luck, a better fishing season and rescue them if they are in danger at sea.
Fishermen believe whales are sacred and bring them luck, and so worship the creatures both alive and dead. To fishermen in Vietnam, especially on the central and southern coasts, the whale is worshiped as Ca Ong, or "Lord Whale", who protects them at sea.
According to the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Ca Mau Province, the origins of the festival is traced back to the late 19th century and early 20th century. Lord Whale that is worshiped in the Lang Ong Nam Hai Whale Temple was conferred the titled of Nam Hai Dai Tuong Quan (Great General of the South Sea) by the Nguyen Dynasty.

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