Oxen Racing Festival (Khmer Cow Racing) is often held on the 9th and 10th of Lunar October in An Giang province. The festival is a part of “Đôn Ta” – “Dolta” within Khmer community in Southern Vietnam, especially in Mekong Delta. Đôn Ta is one of the biggest traditional occasions of Khmer people in aim of showing their respects and offerings to their ancestors who departed from life
After picking up their ancestors’ manes and taking them home from pagodas, Khmer people plait rafts with banana trunks displayed with loads of offerings of all kinds and let them float along some canals or rivers close by. If you ever have a chance to visit this community during this occasion, you are definitely welcomed with open arms. According to Khmer people, guests are considered as passengers appointed by their ancestors to visit their families.
Apart from the ritual mentioned above, ox racing is another activity that should be taken into account. A flat and wide piece of land covered with a low water level will be chosen, with 200 meters in length and 100 meters in width. Afterwards, they turn over the soil for a few times, so it can get muddy and encompass the zone with hedges. The end of the race is designed with a space behind keeping a safe distance for these racers. Two flags, one in blue and one in red, are plugged 5 meters away from each other at the starting and ending line. Your pair of ox is supposed to start and finish at the flag with the same color.
During the race, if any pair happens to fall out of the line, it is going to be disqualified. In case the pair of ox behind fortunately steps over the plough of the ox in front, it will be claimed as the winner. However, the commanders ought to stand firmly in order not to fall off, which is declared as losers.
At the crack of dawn, plenty of people all gather at the racecourse. Even for those who live many miles away, they still bring kitchen accessories along just for cooking and watching at the same time.