Unlike other festivals, wrestling is the main sport among other activities of the festival. Lieu Doi Village is located in Liem The Commune, Thanh Liem District, Ha Nam Province. This village festival occurs annually on the 5th day of the 10th lunar month. There remain a lot of legends of the origin of the festival as well as the legends of wrestling and team of wrestlers.
The villagers hold this wrestling festival to thank Thanh Ong (a man of the Doan family who fought against Chinese invaders and was also the ancestor of wrestling).
Lieu Doi’s legend has it that, a young man of Doan (Đoàn) family has the extraordinary power and the special ability of martial arts. He can defeat 5 competitors in the stage. One day, in Nuong Cui (Nương Cửi), a bright blue light ray frightened everybody but the Doan man. He came near it and realized that the light was from a sword placing in a red scarf. He kowtowed to the god, then held the sword, tied the red scarf around his waist and fenced in front of villagers.
The procession ceremony begins in the solemn atmosphere of the martial spirit. Offerings consist of some truncated cones of sticky rice, some bananas, and a pot of tea (substituting for wine). An old man holding a mirror walking backwards at the beginning of the procession starts the worshiping ceremony.
The next phase of the festival is the open fire ceremony. A great flame is set up, and an alderman hands over the sword and a reddish towel to the wrestlers. This ceremony is called "giving of the sword and the reddish clothes ceremony".
The last activity is the Thanh Dong ceremony and after several solemn ceremonies, the wrestling competition begins. First, two boys are elected by the villagers to wrestle for five rounds as a presentation (Five Round Custom). Next, the wrestlers from other localities participate in the round. It's a war flag dance, which is also called “superman going to the battlefield dance”. Atmosphere of the festival is exciting with drum, bell, gong...
Apart from the wrestling activity, the Lieu Doi Festival also has activities such as the performance of popular satirical verses, alternating folk songs, and the tasting of special dishes prepared by the local people for competition at the festival.
If tourists in Vietnam travel have chance attend this festival, you'll surely excited with its activities.