Rice cooking contest brings good fortune for new year

The festival is held annually to commemorate General Phan Tay Nhac, who is believed to have lived during the reign of the 18th Hung King. According to legend, the General regularly held contests to discover who was the best cook to serve his soldiers food before heading into battle. During the event, four teams compete against one another. The contest itself is made up for three main parts, with the teams having to start a fire, fetch water, and then cook the rice. The initial phase, starting the fire, is considered one of the most exciting parts of the contest. Each group assigns four strong men the task to make the fire. The contest begins at 11am, much to the crowd’s excitement. The aim of the contest is to try and complete the task in the shortest possible time. Each group has one hour to complete the task. A group of 10 members quickly grind grains of rice together. As the team works together to cook the rice, co-ordination is key with communication a vital skill necessary to compete, here, the women have only 10 minutes to put the rice in the pot. The person in charge of the rice cooker keeps the rice pots surrounded by burning straw. The straw produce white smoke. The organising board of the contest begins to make their assessment. The cooked rice is then offered to a deity to pray for a happy, lucky, and peaceful new year. The pots are then submitted to be judged. The organising board awards points based on the quality of the cooked rice. After the contest, the villagers are able to taste the rice and themselves pray for a happy and peaceful new year.

rice cooking contest brings good fortune for new year hinh 1

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