Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival

This Festival is the thing of legends. These days, thousands of people gather at a stadium in Do Son in Hai Phong City to see this spectacle annually. Hai Phong is a city of 2 million on the northern coast of Vietnam near the UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay. This coastal region is regularly included in Vietnam private tours and if you are enjoying Vietnamtravel with kids you may get the chance to enjoy this occasion if your holiday corresponds to the time of the event.

do son buffalo fighting festival

Legend tells how a severe drought hit the land and the people looked to the sea and sought the help of the Creator to relieve their misery. They prayed and suddenly saw two buffalos fighting above the waves; it started to rain. Each year the locals hold a festival to give their thanks. It happens on the ninth day of the eighth lunar month and has done since the 18th Century. It is a chance for the people to pray for prosperity in the coming year.

The Buffalo Fighting Festival takes a great deal of preparation. Indeed, preparations usually start in the fifth lunar month. Buffalos have to be selected very carefully and then trained in the weeks leading up to the event itself. They will between 4 and 5 years old, impressive in appearance. Once they have become part of the final selection each of the buffalos will be separated from the rest of the buffalos and fed separately.

The Day
The morning is the time for worship. Towards noon, there is a procession with plenty of colour. There is a chair carried by six strong men while the buffalos, covered in red, body and horns, are led into the ring by young men whose role is then to dance and wave flags. The music is played with drums and gongs prominent.

Two buffalos stand on opposite sides of the ground, close to more red flags, and are then taken into the fighting circle. When they are released they charge at each other. There are a series of rounds, knock outs until the champion buffalo is declared the winner.

Tourists on holiday in Vietnam regularly attend the Festival. The timing of the Festival corresponds with worshipping of the Water God which happens in all the small villages. The highlight though is the buffalo contest themselves where the losers are defeated but unharmed.