The Dong Hoa fishing festival, which began dozens of years ago, is a yearly festival celebrated in the fifth month of the lunar calendar at the Vuc Marsh in Xuan Vien Commune, Nghi Xuan District.
The marsh spans around a kilometer and is near the Hong Linh Mountain. The festival was suspended in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
From 5:30 a.m. Sunday, people of Nghi Xuan District and neighboring areas brought tools like nets to the marsh to catch fish.
At 7 a.m., the festival begins. Over 1,000 people rushed into the marsh to catch fish, while hundreds more stand outside to cheer.
People catch fish across the entire marsh. Several species of fish live there, including snakeheads, carps and ruffes.
People use fishing baskets, typically made of bamboo, to catch fish. Each basket could be 50 cm and costs around VND150,000-200,000 ($6.47-8.62).
“Since ancient times, locals catching fish in the marsh have wished for good weather and bountiful harvest. Authorities meanwhile hope that the festival would help foster community bond,” said 60-year-old Nguyen Van Thai.
Tran Xuan Ninh, from Tien Dien Town, manages to catch a fish that weighs over a kilogram in 15 minutes.
People often celebrate by bringing the fish they caught high in the air.
People also use nets to catch smaller fish.
Children in the summer vacation also participate in the festival.
“I managed to catch around four kilograms of fish in two hours… We won’t sell it, my wife would cook them and invite our neighbors over for a meal,” said Tran Van Thanh from Xuan Vien Commune.
This year, authorities don’t allow nets to be used, but many people still do anyway.
Authorities erect a sign to ban fishing at the marsh to save them up for the festival.
People said they caught fewer fish this year despite the fact that the festival was suspended last year. It was not because of a lack of fish, but because of a deeper water level, making it much more difficult to catch them.
The festival was supposed to commence 10 days earlier, but was postponed due to high water levels.
“These kinds of festivals should be allowed to flourish,” said a tourist.