The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cham Kate Festival, Phan Rang, Vietnam

The Photos below were taken in Phan Rang - Thap Cham, Vietnam during the Kate Festival last month. The festival is the most important holy day in the Cham calendar and includes both the Cham and the related Rag Lai minorities. I've attended the festival several times, though few other foreigners have witnessed it.

Below are photos of the procession in the first day of the festival, when Rag Lai villagers deliver the ceremonial clothing of the Cham King Po Klong Garai to the Cham people.

These Cham holy men deliver the clothing to Thap Po Klong Garai and adorn the statue of the king.

The procession ends in a pageant of traditional Cham music and dance.

In Cham culture the men usually play the musical instruments, of which there are only a few kinds.

The next day I visited both of the local ancient temple-towers where festivities take place around Phan Rang.

The Champa Kingdom was a contemporary of the ancient Angkor kingdom in Cambodia. Their towers were however made from baked red bricks, instead of laterite blocks like the Khmer.

Cham villagers climbing up to Thap Po Ro Me for the Kate Festival.

Cham leaders at the Kate Festival at Thap Po Klong Garai.

The Cham, unlike the Vietnamese, are a matriarchal society.

The Cham prepare a feast at the temples where they honor and worship the kings.

The modern Cham mostly fall within two religious traditions--the Balamon (Hindu-based) and the Bani (Muslim-based). Both actually celebrate Kate, though most observers at the temples are Balamon.

As with everything on this blog, these photo are copyright Adam Bray and may not be copied or republished anywhere else. Period.

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