Con Ball Throwing Festival, Dien Bien

Traditional Folk Game to Celebrate Tet of the Ethnic Thai in Dien Bien, Vietnam

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: November 20, 2019

Different ethnic groups of Vietnam has different ways of organizing Tet. In Muong Thanh and Dien Bien, the local people celebrate Con Ball Throwing Festival. This kind of festival has been held for so many years but until now it is still the most popular one among Thai people. 

Legend Of Con Ball Throwing Festival

Activities in Con ball throwing festival

A long time ago, when Thai girls were working in the paddle fields, they came across an idea of making a game from throwing rice plants’s sheaves with each other. After that, people replaced the sheaves by fabric ball or Con ball. This game then became famous among Thai people who believe that they can get happiness, prosperity and trust if they play Con Ball throwing. 

For the Thai people, it is a folk game of great significance. According to Lo Van In, a Thai culture researcher in Dien Bien, Con symbolizes Yang while the bamboo ring symbolizes Yin. The game shows the harmony of Yin and Yang so couples who want to have children excitedly participate in the game to pray for a child.

Features and Highlights of Con Ball Throwing Festival

1. The Con Ball

Highlights of Con ball throwing festival

This ball is like an orange and is decorated with so many colorful materials that demonstrates the universe’s richness. The cotton, rice grains, mustard seeds, sesame and beans represent for the expectation of villagers for longevity, prosperity and fast growth. 

Thai girls make the ball by using a 20-centimeter square cloth with a string of 50 cm in length. The ball has 4 corners, each of them is decorated with a fringe demonstrating 4 different directions. Everyone tries to have the most gorgeous ones to play in the festival. 

2. The Interesting Game

People play Con throwing at Con Ball Throwing Festival

The folk game is often held on a spacious and flat ground where the locals erect a bamboo pole, 15m-20m high. The top of the pole is tied with a five colored flag and a bamboo-made wing wrapped in red paper that serves as the target of the game.

During the festival, Con is thrown towards the starting point of the river or stream where the Thai ethnic people live. The folk game’s rules are simple and anyone can participate in the festival. The participants are divided into two teams who throw Con at the bamboo ring at the top of the pole. Those who successfully throw Con through the ring will become the winners.

Over the years, with its spiritual and cultural values, the Con ball throwing game has been preserved and has become the most popular traditional folk game of the Thai people in Vietnam.

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