Secretive tradition of fire dancing in Ha Giang Province

By Ngoc Trien – Ngoc Bang | |

Fire dancing is one of the most thrilling traditional arts performed by young men in the northern province of Ha Giang.

After the last harvest at the end of the year, young boys of the Pa Then Ethnic Minority Group in Bac Quang and Quang Binh Districts in Ha Giang Province hold a fire dancing ceremony to celebrate the new rice.

This is one of the most thrilling and unique ceremonies in the region.

To perform this dance, the young boys must follow a strict training programme which involves mysterious methods provided by a skilled elderly magician.

Before the performance, the young boys must, together with their trainer, prepare an offering to the ‘Fire God’ and the ‘Water God’ and worship for 2-4 hours. The offerings usually include a small incense burner, a boiled chicken, 10 cups of rice wine and wood.

They must do so to get an ‘ok’ from the gods that they can jump into the fire and perform their skilled moves.

The young dancers also eat the live, burning embers. Before and after the performance, they always take some to enjoy.

Women and small boys are not allowed to join in the tradition however, they will gather around to cheer them on.

The brave men will, on bare feet, jump and dance on a fire without being burnt.

The fire is ready

The magician is helping young dancers prepare the offerings

Thrilling performances with the fire

Lying on the burning embers