The Hanoitimes - A culture of the Cai Rang Floating Market, the national intangible cultural heritage will be a highlight of the Vietnam Ethnic Groups` Unity–Vietnam Cultural Heritage Week in Hanoi from November 18 to 23.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Don Ca Tai Tu (Amateur Singing), which was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, will also be another highlight of the event.
Cai Rang floating market.
In addition, nearly 200 ethnic minority people and artists of 13 groups, namely Tay, Dao, Mong, Muong, Thai, Kho Mu, Ta Oi, Co Tu, E De, Khmer, Cham, Kinh, Raglai of 13 localities and local tourism associations, tourism agencies will join the event.
A number of cultural exchanges among ethnic minority groups, workshops, seminars on building and developing the Tourism and Culture Village of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups will also take place during the festival.
The annual event aims to honor the cultural heritage of the ethnic minority groups of Vietnam and promote cultural, sports and tourism exchanges. The activity also helps consolidate the national great unity and welcome the 87th anniversary of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (November 18), and the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day (November 23).
People said that “If one has not visited floating market, you have not visited the south-west of Vietnam”. Literally, floating markets which have been around for a long time make the liveliest part of life in the south-west, the land of rivers, canals, and ditches.
For tourists who travel to Can Tho, the metropolis of the south-west, it would be regretful if they could not drop by and purchase something in Cai Rang (6km from Can Tho city), one of the most famous and biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta.
From Cai Rang Bridge, the market stretches half kilometre downstream Can Tho River. Hundreds of boats gathering here from the dawn till before noon makes the area extraordinary animated and the water surface colorful with numerous tropical fruits. The large sized anchored boats create meandering lanes for smaller ones to weave through. All create a bustling and joyful atmosphere that can attract any tourist.
Most of the boats here are packed with a lot of farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh district and the nearby areas like vegetables, coconut, banana, watermelon, grapefruit, dragon fruit and so on. Small boats that sell soft drinks, wine and food for breakfast go among the others to serve market-goers and visitors. Other services and products like mending machine, selling gasoline, mobile card, clothes, cosmetic, spicy, etc all are available here, not different from what are sold in common markets on land.
Trading from boats brings excitement to buyers when catching some sample of products that are thrown by sellers from other boats. While shopping on boat, one can also enjoy fresh fruits and see floating house of the locals along the riverside.
In this bustling floating market, the cries of the sellers seem to be swallowed in the vastness of the river and lost into the noise of boat engines. The disadvantaged condition turns out to facilitate the birth of a unique advertising tool: pole of sample goods.
Every boat has a long upright pole with samples of the goods for sale hanging on, so the sellers do not have to cry out what they are selling and buyers can easily see from the distance the goods sold on that boat. Just look up and ones can know exactly which boat selling the products they are seeking for.
About 200 – 250 waterway vehicles engage in buying and selling activities at the market every day with agricultural products being main goods. About 2,000 tonnes of products are sold and bought at the market each day, generating over VND3 billion (US$132,000) in daily revenue.