Each year on Lunar March 15, 17 and 19, Lolo people in Vietnam’s Ha Giang province host a festival to pray for rain. They beg the deities to give them favorable weather and bountiful harvests.

This is one of the largest spring festivals of the Lolo people, observed for generations. During this festival, Lolo people prepare sacrificial offerings that are integral to all rain-praying rituals, namely bronze drums and double-chorded lutes. Lolo people believe that bronze drums have existed since heaven and earth were formed. Bronze drums are physical and auditory symbols of the universe and humanity. Each set of mồ dành drums (heavenly drums) includes a male and female drum. The Lolo double-chorded lute is also unique, being three or four times bigger than the lutes of Kinh people, Vietnam’s ethnic majority.

Other offerings include one rooster, two dogs, one wooden or iron blade, a bowl of water, four glasses of liquor, and four bamboo incense pipes that represent the four heavenly directions, as well as incense and votive papers.

After the rituals, Lolo people gather to dance and drink liquor. At this time young men and women perform traditional chants. The rain-praying festival brings joy to Lolo people, and draws visitors from all over the country to the magnificent province of Ha Giang.