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Jan 30, 2023 / 18:09

Exploring unique Thi Cam Rice Cooking Contest in Hanoi

This ancient contest demonstrates gratitude for rice among people in Hanoi.

The lively and funky rice cooking contest was organized on the 8th day of the first lunar month [January 29] in Thi Cam Village, Xuan Phuong Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi.

This yearly competition is aimed to pay tribute to General Phan Tay Nhac, who lived under the regime of the 18th Hung King, 285 BC, the tutelary God of Thi Cam Village. The custom also prays for a prosperous, happy, and peaceful new year.

The contest consists of three main parts: lighting the fire, fetching water, and cooking the rice. 

The event takes place in the village's temple.
 This year’s contest draws the participation of four teams, corresponding to four neighborhood groups in the ward.
 Cooking utensils and wood for the rice cooking competition are well prepared by the contestants. The bamboo sticks are stripped, while the straw is bundled to catch fire easily.
The first part of the contest involves children aged 12 to 14 years old. They must run to the nearby Nhue River to bring water to the village. 
 Older contestants assume the task of fire-lighting in the traditional way: using only bamboo and straw to make fire. 
The contestants are successful in making fire.
 As the first spark burns the straw, the contest's atmosphere becomes more joyful than ever.
 The teams only have about 30 minutes from the time when the fire is made until the rice is cooked. 
 When the four pots of rice are cooked, they are judged by the village elders. 
 A jury member is searching for pots of rice within the ashes. 
 The winning rice cooker makes the most delicious rice. 
 Rice cooked by the winner. 
 Once the winning team is announced, the rice is distributed among all the villagers. 
They believe that adults who eat the rice will have a lucky year and children will grow up nicely.