Pà Thẻn fire jumping ritual recognised as national intangible cultural heritage for second time
The fire jumping ritual of the Pà Thẻn ethnic minority in Tuyên Quang Province has been enlisted as Việt Nam’s intangible heritage for the second time.
TUYÊN QUANG The fire jumping ritual of the Pà Thẻn ethnic minority in Hồng Quang Commune, Lâm Bình District in the northern province of Tuyên Quang has been enlisted as Việt Nam’s intangible heritage for the second time.
A ceremony to grant the recognition to Hồng Quang Commune was held at the Nà Nghè Stadium on Tuesday. It was attended by representatives from the Cultural Heritage Department, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; provincial People's Committee, the Fatherland Front, the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism as well as a large number of local residents and tourists.
Speaking at the event, Secretary of the District Party Committee and Chairman of the District People's Committee Nguyễn Thành Trung, said the recognition is a great honour for the people of Lâm Bình District.
“It is expected to uphold the unique cultural values of the fire-jumping ritual of the Pà Thẻn people and enhance the awareness in the preservation of traditional heritages,” he added.
“At the same time, it will encourage local tourism development, thereby gradually improving livelihoods of the local people.”
In early June 2023, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism recognised four cultural heritages of Tuyên Quang Province as national intangible cultural heritages. This increases the total number of national intangible cultural heritages in the province to 16.
Among these, the fire-jumping ritual of the Pà Thẻn people in Hồng Quang Commune has been recognised for the second time as a national intangible cultural heritage.
The fire-jumping ritual performed by Pà Thẻn Community in Tân Bắc Commune, Quang Bình District in the northern province of Hà Giang receive the title on December, 2012.
According to the Pà Thẻn people’s traditional perception, the practice of fire jumping aims to dispel fear and weakness among local youths. It is combined with rituals and invocations to seek spiritual strength, helping the people to become more courageous and resilient.
Tuyên Quang Province is home to about 840 Pà Thẻn people, who mostly live in Hồng Quang and Linh Phú communes.
The fire jumping ritual of the Pà Thẻn people usually takes place during leisure time when all the farm work is completed. It starts from the 16th day of the 10th lunar month of the previous year and lasts until the 15th day of the first lunar month of the following year.
In their spiritual life, Pà Thẻn people believe that they are always accompanied and protected by deities who provide assistance in overcoming dangers and hardships, ensuring their survival and livelihood.
To them, fire can be considered as a supreme deity that is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Therefore, when the fire jumping ritual takes place, everyone in the village gathers to cheer and show their support.
Fire jumping is a ritual that symbolises the deities descending to bathe in the water and bless the village with good health, harmonious weather, and bountiful harvests.
The ritual includes a prayer ceremony with a number of shamans worshiping the Fire God for luck, happiness, health, and peace.
Young men will then jump over a coal fire without any fear and come away unscathed. They also kick up the coal pile in order to startle those watching. Sometimes they even dig up live coals with their hands or put a live coal in their mouth.