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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Vietnam Season 1 Lesson 25 - Elephant Racing Festival
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Vietnam series at VietnamesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Vietnamese holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson - 25 - Elephant Racing Festival.
People in Vietnam's Central Highlands have many traditional festivals, probably the most notable of which is the Elephant Racing Festival, or [lễ hội đua voi]. This festival is usually held in lunar March each year.
In this lesson, we will discuss some of the more interesting aspects of this holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
When participating in the race, how many people ride one elephant?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
People in Vietnam's Central Highlands not only tame elephants, in Vietnamese [voi], for carrying goods, but also consider elephants as friends in their lives. Therefore, every year, villages there usually hold elephant races before each new farming season to honor the strength of and express their love for the elephants.
Several months prior to the festival, elephants receive special care. Their work is limited, and they are given as much food as they would like to eat, in order to preserve their strength for the race. When the festival nears, elephant herds from the neighboring villages gather in a number of thin forests around [Đôn] Village.
The Elephant Racing Festival is held in separate groups on an even ground. When the starting horn is blown, the elephants rush forward to warm cheers from the many spectators and villagers.
To preserve its cultural identity and develop tourism, the local government is responsible for organizing the Elephant Racing Festival. In addition to the race, the elephants participate in many other sporting contests, such as swimming, or [bơi], and [đá bóng], which means playing soccer.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
When participating in the race, how many people ride one elephant?
Normally, there are two people, called [mơgát] or mahut who ride one elephant. They usually wear clothes like those of generals in the past to take part in the race along with their elephants, to simulate the heroic spirit of the majestic Vietnamese Central Highlands.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Are there many elephants in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at VietnamesePod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!