Bringing the White Thai hair-washing festival back to life in Lai Châu

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LAI CHÂU — Last week was a special one for the White Thai people of Lai Châu.

To celebrate the annual Then Kin Pang festival, Phong Thổ District’s People’s Committee recreated the traditional Áp Hô Chiêng Festival (also known as the New Year Shampoo Festival) of the White Thai people in Khổng Lào Commune.

The festival is inspired by the legend of Miss Han, who disguised herself as a man to fight the enemy and returned victorious on the last day before the Lunar New Year.

After the fight, Han and the soldiers bathed in the Nậm Bó stream to celebrate their victory and welcome in the new year. Suddenly, the sky shined brighter than usual and a five-coloured cloud appeared to welcome her to paradise.

On the 30th December of the lunar calendar, the Áp Hô Chiêng Festival is celebrated to show respect and gratitude to the ancestors and the great merits of Miss Han. At the same time, people wash away the hardships and bad luck of the last year, send away calamities and diseases along the river and pray for a good new year with good luck.

Let’s immerse ourselves into the festive atmosphere of the White Thai people through the lens of VNA journalist photographer Nguyễn Oanh. VNS

For the Thai people, washing hair at the steam means seeing unfortunate things off along the water currents. VNA Photo Nguyễn Oanh

The beauty of White Thai girls at the Hair Washing Festival. VNA Photo Nguyễn Oanh

After the ceremony at Then house, the group with drums and gongs moved to Nậm Lụm stream. VNA Photo Nguyễn Oanh

Doing ritual ceremony before the Áp Hô Chiêng Festival. VNA Photo Nguyễn Oanh

White Thai girls in their traditional female costumes. VNA Photo Nguyễn Oanh

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