Unlike any other markets, Khau Vai Love Market is extraordinary and remarkable because the people coming here do not sell or buy any goods. This unique cultural event attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists.
Khau Vai Market, also known as Phong Luu market has been around for nearly 100 years. The market is located in Khau Vai commune, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province and only takes place once a year on the 27th of March in lunar calendar.
“My dear, go down the mountain with me
Riding a horse on your’s own
I’m no longer young and beautiful
But I still have the umbrella of Phong Luu love market”
The story of the Khau Vai love market originated from legend imbued with cultural indentity of ethnic minorities. Long time ago, in a remote mountainous H’mong village there were two lovers: a Nung ethnic boy named Ba and a Giay ethnic girl called Ut. Ba is a handsome boy, he can sing and flute very well but his family is poor. Ut is a beautiful daughter of a rich Giay family. Their love was not disapproved by Ut’s family because of their different customs and tribes.They desperately wanted to be together but their parents forced them to marry others. As the lovers witnessed the tragedy war between the two tribes that surrounded their lives, Ba and Ut decides to say goodbye. But they agreed to meet once a year for a day to spend time together.
Re-creation of Khau Vai love legend
Since then, they went back to the mountain every year to share feelings and recall memories. On the last day of their life, they met each other at the vow stone, hugged each other until they went to the eternal world. The villagers built two worship shrines called “Ba Shrine” and “Ong Shrine” right where they passed away in memory of their heart-rending love.
Following their lead, many ethnic minority couples now attend the Khau Vai love market, for one day every year, seeking out their past lovers, hoping to reunite with the ones they never got the chance to be with. It is the chance to talk about their current marriages and warm up their lost love. Many husbands and wives arrive at the market together before they both seek their past partners among the crowd. The market also attracts those who excitedly want to find a partner for the first time.
This famous festival attracts many local ethnic groups living near and far like Nung, Giay, Mung,…
On the 26th, local people prepare chicken, pork, sticky rice, fruits and incense as offerings to worship at the shines.
Incense offering ceremony at Ong and Ba shrines
Attending the event, tourists have chance to witness mountainous minority’s culture and tradition, including foods and drinks, folk dances performances and games. Also, they can experience the power and beauty of love as well as the romance and strong emotions of ex-lovers which is the key factor creating and maintaining this unique market.
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