In addition to practicing swimming, repairing, decorating, and building new boats, Khmer pagodas have Ngo boat crews participating in the Oóc om bóc – The traditional Ngo boat racing festival of the Khmer people in the South. The ceremony is very important, it is the launching ceremony.
In order to prepare for the 5th Oóc om bóc Soc Trang – the Ngo boat racing festival, in the Mekong Delta region in 2022, teams in the province urgently practice and perform the traditional launching ceremony, in which there is a fleet of boats at Phnorroka pagoda, Phu Huu hamlet, Phu Tam commune (formerly known as Vung Thom), Chau Thanh district, Soc Trang province.
The purpose of the ceremony is to pray to the gods who protect the Ngo boat to follow and help the temple’s teams to win the upcoming race.
The Administration Board of Phnorroka Pagoda has invited the swimmers, and Ngo boat athletes in the commune to the temple to practice. The boat crew of 60 people gather to practice every afternoon from the beginning of October. Usually, the pagodas choose a good time and auspicious day to launch the Ngo boat.
In addition to preparing for swimming practice, the pagoda also built a new Ngo boat and painted patterns on the boat’s body. The mascot, the main pattern of the Phnorroka boat is the white tiger, symbolizing strength and speed on the track.
In the Khmer community, in addition to the monks, the people who play an important role in social and cultural life are the Achars – the prestigious people, the “leaders” in the hamlets, and the moral leaders. , life style.
In the photo is Ta Dien – an elderly Achar at Phnorroka temple performing the candlelight ceremony and boat offering. The offerings are presented on a high position in front of the Ngo boat, then together they offer sacrifices to pray.
Ghe Ngo is preserved in a boat house on the temple grounds. The boat house is a sacred place with a roof to protect against rain and sun.
Ghe Ngo has two force-bearing pliers, usually the trunk of a melaleuca tree, which helps the boat jump and accelerate, and helps to hold the boat tightly without breaking in half. Each tree is about 0.2m in diameter. A long pliers throughout the boat, a steering pliers (from the middle of the boat to the back) is called a fishing rod. This tree is many years old and is left to dry indoors for 1-2 years before it can be tied to make a fishing rod. On the photo is the act of tying a fishing rod.
On the Ngo boat, there are many compartments, each compartment has many 1.2m long crossbars to make a seat for 2 people to swim comfortably in each parallel pair of 24 pairs. In the photo, the whole team is working together to lift the boat and prepare to take it out of the house.
The nose of the boat is raised to move out. Traditionally, the Ngo boat is 27m long, has a snake-like shape, elongates gently forward, the head is bent and slightly lower behind the wheel.
While launching the Ngo boat, it rained, bringing many emotions to the swimmers. As soon as the boat came to the asphalt road, it was in the opposite direction of the river, so the whole team moved and turned the boat in the right direction to launch.
In the photo is Venerable Son Vu Bao – Abbot of Phnorroka Pagoda navigating the boat when the boat is turning across the road, the back part of the boat is located in the neighborhood of the people’s house because the Ngo boat is too long.
The whole team of boats moved on foot through rural roads, from the temple to the tributary, about 3km.
Trinh Thanh Vu (middle) and Truong Dinh (right) said that after a period of trying to practice on the water rig, they are eager to participate in launching the boat, hoping to achieve high results in this year’s traditional Ngo boat racing festival. .
Moving in front of the boat team are Khmer children, eager to laugh with the characters of Chan and the Sadam drum team.
The boat team made a left turn to the rural road, moved to a tributary of Chau Thanh district, through a few stops connecting with the large river Maspesro in Soc Trang city.
The banana trunks are formed into arrays to easily move the boat head into the river.
Mr. Canh, a reputable elder in Phum Soc, was chosen to sit in front of the boat to perform a celebratory ceremony by setting off homemade flares when the boat’s bow was in the water.
Mr. Ngo Sang, coach of the boat team blew his whistle to navigate the boat through a bridge with low static.
On both sides of the boat’s bow are drawn the name of the place that originated with the land of Vung Thom – Phu Tam, Chau Thanh.
For the Khmer people, the ritual of launching the Ngo boat is both traditional, and spiritual and has its own unique culture.
Keyword: Close-up of the Ngo boat launching ceremony of the Khmer people in the South