The Kate Festival is held annually by the Cham ethnic group who inhabit the An Phuoc District of Ninh Thuan Province. The Kate Festival ia held on the first ten days of the seventh month of the Cham Calendar (this cooresponds with September or October). The Kate Festival is an occasion for the Cham people to express their venerability to their god. This god is considered the creator of the universe and is thought of as a national hero. During this festival, people go on a pilgrimage to the holy land of My Son and visit their friends and family.
On the last ten days of the sixth month of the Cham calendar, the Cham people bring precious gifts to their ancient Cham King. This ritual is held to thank their god beforehand and to ask for help in organizing the Kate Festival.
At night, everyone from the villages gets together to see the ritual performances of the traditional costumes (Poh Akharao). This traditional dance performance is accompanied by the solemn Kapo music rhythms.
In the early morning of the first day of the seventh month of the Cham calendar, the worshipping ceremonies are complete. Everyone then stages a procession for the deity of a nearby temple or tower , such as the Polnu Nagar, Poklong Garai, or An Phuoc. The procession is very crowded and the music of the Raglay people (the ancient Cham people) can be heard everywhere.
In the temples, the worshipping sorcerer commences the ritual of the door opening (Poh Bang), and the vice worshipping sorcerer executes a hymn piece.
The hymn is accompanied by the rhythms of the ancient Kanhi and tells of the the power of the people. Other rituals include the washing and dressing of the Statue of the King with mineral water and the offering of wine in worship.
The rituals lasts throughout the day and into the night, concluding with a performance where people compose and recite poems while playing music. The festival is a very exciting time because people from everywhere can converse, share in the same feast, and walk the same path.
According to the Khmer people, the 15th day of the tenth lunar month marks the end of their year. Khmer people in Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta celebrate this event with ceremonies, feasts and Ngo boat races. On the Khmer New Year's Eve, villagers gather in the grounds of their local pagoda, in a treeless area. The moon is invited to watch the ceremonies, which begin with the construction of a bamboo archway, decorated with leaves and flowers. Beneath this arch stands a table on which villagers place offerings of bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, cassava and, most importantly, new sticky rice.
When the moon appears, an old man lights incense and candles and prays to the Moon Deity. Following this prayer, children kneel and raise their clasped hands to the moon. The host of the ceremony places chunks of sticky rice in the children's mouths, pats them on the back and tells them to make a wish. These wishes are said to foreshadow the fate of the community in the coming year.
Following this ceremony, the festivities begin. Lantern-rockets, made of paper and powered by burning oil, careen into the air. Candles are lit and the dripping wax, collected on banana leaves, is used to predict the weather. Rafts made of banana leaves are released on canals. And like at all successful festivals, the rice wine flows freely.
The following day features Ghe Ngo (Ngo boat) races. The long, slim boats, often made from the hollowed-out trunk of a Sao tree, each hold about 50 men. Prior to the race, people place incense and candles on the boats and, accompanied by a traditional orchestra of gongs, perform various ceremonies to choose the boats' captain and crew. One man is chosen to sit on the prow, where he will pray to the gods and entertain the rowers. The races themselves are thrilling, as the rowers push themselves to the limit, encouraged by the jubilant cheers of the crowd.