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Le Mat Snake Festival

May 14, 2015          3778 views
(Cinet) - The ancient village of Le Mat, located about 7km Northeast of downtown Hanoi, is famous for its tradition of catching snakes and making delicious culinary dishes from them.
The festival is annually held on March 20-24 of the lunar calendar to worship the village’s tutelary god of the Hoang Family.
An old man, Hoang Ngoc Dau, acting as Ly dynasty general, performs flag dance
Legend has it the tradition has its historical roots during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong (1028-1054) when his beautiful daughter was captured by a serpent on the Thien Duc River or Duong River by order of the River-King.
King Tong immediately dispatched forces to rescue the princess but they couldn't fight the serpent under the water.
A young man named Le Mat volunteered to save the beautiful princess.
With exceptional bravery, Mat jumped into the river, churning up the muddy-water to wrestle the monster.
The hero defeated the river-king’s snake and returned the princess to her father.
The King was deeply impressed by the young man’s courage and rewarded him with gold and court titles.
But the hero – a member of the Hoang family – graciously rejected them.
Instead, Mat requested the King allow him and a number of poor people to reclaim land in the areas lying west of Thang Long, the Royal Capital, which was then surrounded by fallow land.
After the King assented, the young man set about mobilizing the poor from throughout the country and led them in reclaiming land and establishing 13 prosperous agricultural settlements in the neighbourhood of Thang Long.
Grateful posterity perpetuates the young hero as the genius of their villages and ever since inhabitants of the former agricultural settlements have flocked to the Le Mat village each March 23 of the lunar year to commemorate him.
The highlight of the festivities is the snake dance, an original performance held in the yard of the communal house.
Other activities during Le Mat Snake Festival include a water procession and flight against snake monster.
With many ancient cultural features, Le Mat Village Festival is one of the most unique festivals in the country, attracting a large number of tourists.