Thi Cam villagers take part in traditional rice cooking contest
Update: Feb 27, 2015
Thi Cam villagers in Bac Tu Liem District, Ha Noi eagerly took part in a traditional rice cooking contest held in the courtyard of the village’s communal house on February 26.

The festival is held annually on the eighth day of the first lunar month, recalling the legend of General Phan Tay Nhac, who is believed to have lived during the reign of 18th Hung King. As the legend goes, the general launched the contest in the village on his way to the battle in order to to find the best cook to serve his soldiers.

The four teams competing in the contest are assigned three tasks: manually making a fire, running for water, and pounding and cooking rice.

As the rice is cooked in bronze pots only until the incense sticks burn out, the whole competition takes place within just one hour. Competitors often play a little trick on the organising board: they make many heaps of ash on the ground and hide their rice cooker in one of them so that the board’s member will take longer time to find their cooker, ensuring the rice will be well-cooked.

When all four rice cookers are found, they are offered to the village’s tutelary god before they are judged by the village’s elderly.

After the winning team is announced, the rice is delivered to all of the villagers to pray for a new year full of prosperity and peace.