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Wednesday,  Sep 20,2017,19:56 (GMT+7)

Festival turns tragic

The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Jul 3,2017,22:10 (GMT+7)
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Festival turns tragic

The Saigon Times Daily

Vietnam is known for numerous cultural festivals, especially those in the northern region. One of the most exciting festivals is buffalo fighting in Do Son in the northern coast city of Haiphong.

Large numbers of revelers descended to the qualifying round of the traditional Do Son buffalo fighting festival early this month. However, the fun game became a tragedy when the owner of a fighting buffalo was gored to death in front of a large crowd.

The watchers were shocked to eyewitness the death of buffalo owner Dinh Xuan Huong from Van Huong Ward in Do Son District. The qualifying round on July 1 had 16 fights with 32 buffaloes of local residents participating and during the 14th fight, one of the two buffaloes ran away but suddenly turned back and gored its owner to death.

All people were greatly disturbed to see the tragedy. This was the first agonizing human death since the buffalo fighting festival resumed in Do Son 28 years ago.

As in previous years, this year’s festival, whose finale is slated for the 9th of the eighth lunar month, or September 28, is much expected by local residents and tourists alike. But whether or not the buffalo competition can continue is in doubt as local authorities have ordered a suspension to review safety measures.

Hoang Trung Hieu, vice chairman of Do Son District, told local media that the organizing committee has strict rules and a safety and security plan for the festival, so the death of a buffalo owner was regrettable. But he proposed maintaining rather than scraping the festival.

The district chairman, Hoang Xuan Minh, also supported the maintenance of the game, saying this is a traditional cultural event which the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2012.

A senior official of the ministry came to Do Son to inspect what happened. The official said she was surprised to hear that the buffalo owner was responsible for his own death, instead of the organizing committee. Safety measures were lax as the fence was not good enough to prevent buffaloes from attacking spectators, according to the official.

The organizers tried to dodge their responsibility and put the blame on the buffalo owner. The organizers should be held accountable for safety flaws as why the buffalo owner was allowed in on the fighting ground remains unanswered.

The Saigon Times Daily

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