Experience one of Vietnam's most culturally stimulating festivals when you visit the Buffalo Sacrifice in the Tay Nguyen region, north-east of Ho Chi Minh City.
- When? Between the 12th and 3rd lunar months - exact dates TBC
- Where? Tây Nguyên, Vietnam
- Price: Free
If you're looking for a cultural festival as unusual and weird as washing your treasure in buffalo blood, you're in the right place. In the Central Highland, the people of the Tây Nguyên region and visitors from Ho Chi Minh City, come to the Buffalo Sacrifice Festival in search of entertainment, cultural activities and you guessed it - buffalo.
This annual celebration is held between the 12th lunar month and the 3rd lunar month of the following year in wish for a good harvest and happy life. It has a spiritual attachment with men cutting down trees and carving special patterns and motifs onto them prior to its commencement. Gongs and drums are beat at the beginning of the day before people start dancing and singing, creating a bustling festive atmosphere. It is traditional for the women to try and splash the men with water, who try to avoid it in the belief that if wet, they will find it difficult to get married in the future.
After the celebrations have died down, the buffalo ceremony begins with men taking it in turns to kill a buffalo with a single stab in search of approval and honour from the crowd. This is a fairly gory part of the proceedings and can be difficult to stomach if you have strong beliefs regarding cruelty to animals. However, it's important to consider you are in another country and the buffalo sacrifice and its traditions are an important part of this region's culture.
The buffalo meat is then eaten and shared around the households in the village where as the horns are hung on the wall of the Communal House and the beasts' blood used to wash the village treasure. After these events, people continue with the celebrations and party into the night with some great, entertaining performances by the locals.
We think you'll agree - this is not your everyday festival.
- Get there: From Ho Chi Minh City, drive to Tây Nguyên. It'll take around 5 hours.
- Stay: Consider staying in Tây Nguyên for a few days - the trek from Ho Chi Minh City is a long one.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!