Golden rice fields stretch out along the entrance path to Mai Chau valley. At this time of the year (mid-October), the Thai ethnic group in Mai Chau are preparing a feast for the New Rice Festival.
The new rice celebration festival, also known as new rice Tet, is the biggest traditional festival of Vietnamese upland people. The Thai ethnic group in Vietnam, the festival is as important as Lunar New Year Tet to Kinh people.
The Thai people consider their ancestors’ blessing very important for ensuring a bumper crop. So, before harvesting, families offer rice to their ancestors, expressing their gratitude to them. As family members are reunited during the New Rice Festival, grand parents and parents teach their offspring to follow their ethical codes.
The Thai show their respect for their ancestors in a special way. Highlights at the festival include cutting young paddy to make green rice flakes as an offering to the gods of water, land and sky. Visitors are invited to eat green rice flakes and other traditional Thai dishes such as grilled stream fish and sticky rice
The exact day of New Rice festival is not fixed. It depends on the families and clans. The Thai people worship their ancestors once every 10 days. A big family might worship once every 5 days. Normally, the New Rice Festival is held once a year and lasts 3 days