Southwest of Saigon, the Ooc Om Bok Festival

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Southwest of Saigon, the Ooc Om Bok Festival

In tribute to the moon, when the rice begins to ripen in the fields, the Khmer organize a canoe race on a branch of the Mekong.

About 200 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, Soc Trang province—the province ‘of 170 pagodas' because of the many temples that rise everywhere—is known for its sumptuous Khmer holidays. Among these, the most famous is Ooc Om Bok, held between the 14th and the 15th day of the 10th lunar month in the city of Soc Trang, during which a gigantic ‘ngo' (canoe) race is organized.

About 30 boats participate in the competition, each bearing the image of a pagoda, and there are generally around 50 rowers per boat. Some canoes, such as the one representing the pagoda Chua Doi (‘Temple to the Bats'), alone carry 100 people. After the race, there is a tradition of worshiping the moon and praying for a prolific harvest. On the river, lanterns and colourful banners, flowers, and offerings of fruit are placed on rafts cut from banana tree trunks.

Ooc Om Bok (Water Festival) 2016
Soc Trang

From 13 to 14 November 2016