Nang Hai festtival of Tay in general and the Nang Hai festival in Tien Thanh, Phuc Hoa in the east of Non nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO global geopark in particular reflects the Mother worship religion of the Tay people in Cao Bang. According to the faith of Tay people, the Moon Mother and Fairies live on the Moon, they help to protect and secure properous crop for the people. The Nang Hai festival is organize to demonstrate the moon journey to receive and welcome the Moon mother and Fairies down to the earth to visit field, homes and experience daily life of the people and help people on the earth with good life, crop and properous business.
The Nang Hai festival in Tien Thanh commune with community based performance is typical among festivals of Tay people, which includes all the three parts namely praying for good crop, happiness and love. In nature, this Festival reflects the Mother worship faith through typical ceremony soul extraction – a phenomenon of Shaman religion.
In Cao Bang, there are other areas that are celebrating Nang Hai festival as Phuc Hoa district such as Thach An, Bao Lam, Bao Lac, Trung Khanh and they also include the Three parts. However, the Festival celebrated in Phuc Hoa is the most special one, which demonstrates history that related to the Mac dynasty in Cao Bang. Currently, in Phuc Hoa, there are some areas celerbrating Nang Hai festival including Nua Khau, Bang Giuong, Nguom Cuong, Ban Chap but these are fading away, only Ban Nua Khau usually celebrate Nang Hai festival in even years (lunar calendar).
Nobody is sure when this Festival has been being celebrated, it is know that this started since farmers wanted to send their wishes to a Fairy, in this case the Moon mother. However, as mentioned above this Festival also related to the existance of Mac dynasty in Cao Bang. Till now, there is a folk saying about a moved love story between the General Dinh Ta Van and a girl-who is belived to be the Mac princess and this girl characster is the inspiration for the choral singing performance in the Nang Hai Festival in Tien Thanh Commune, Phuc Hoa district. As being known that, the Mac was considered the Dynasty of usurper, existed for about 150 years. The recorded history of Mac dynasty in Cao Bang is very little, information is not enough and precise, especially the last years of Mac Dynasty. Based on the historical evidents, folk tails, and remnants, we can inteprete about historical events relating to the existances of Mac Dynasty in Cao Bang province and its influences on the contemporary Nang Hai Festival in Tien Thanh, Phuc Hoa, Cao Bang. According to the recent survey, it can be intepreted that this Festival was started in Tong Lao (Tien Thanh commune) then dissemniated to other areas. Owning to the General Dinh Van Ta and the Mac princess, this Festival has been celebrated with more associated meanings.
From the activities in the Festival, we can easily see the connection between the daily life and faith of Tay people. For farmers, their best concern is favorable weather and good condition, healthy castles, etc which are all demonstrated in Nang Hai festival.
In addition, Nang Hai festival reflects good practice of traditions of Tay people. Community union and respect are nice behavior in culture of Tay people. The Nang Hai festival has helped encourage and maintain these practice. This is a days, community-based performance festival, not yet including consensus among the community before and during the celebarion of the Festival. For such a Nang Hai festival, it requires efforts, consensus, and solidarity of Community. The Festival is an opportunity for to build friendship and love among community members.
The build-in holy solemnities of the Festival help to maintain the neat and order from the commencement till the last moment, which is also a symbol of community repspect of Tay people.
Elderly repsect and taking-care children are another nice traditional practice of Tay people. In the Festival, Elderly is the one who make decisions. They play the important characters of the Person who guided Nang Cuong, acted in the roles of So and the Mother-who is usually very knowledgable and respected character, besides the voice of the young is heard and they are guided by old people too. Actress in The Nang Hai festivals now are young girls and are guided by the old people.
Another humanism values should be mentioned here is the freedom in merriage of Tay people. The Festival lasts several days, with the tradition of inviting friends coming for exchange of songs is a good opportunity for men and women in other villages to meet and date.
Hospitality is a good tradition which demonstrated in the Nang Hai Festival. It is believed by Tay people that the more hospitable families are, the luckier they are. Nang Hai festival is a friend reunion day with open stories from bottom of their hearts. This traditional practice should be kept and maintained.
Nang Hai is a choral singing performance festival that is not very popular in other Festivals. As initiated by the inspiration of the Festival, the couple-singing lyrics are very humane. Words used in songs are very descriptive with flexible performance. Furthermore, the Praying for good crops songs contained a sum of vocabularies of Tay language, which help researchers understand more about the development process of this language. Though dacing performance in the Festivals is not popular, it warms up the atmosphere of the Festival. The combination of dacing with traditional songs makes the Festival very attractive and lively.
In addition, the attraction of the Festival also includes other types of cultures such as: arts of decoration of the Festivals, wooden board carving, painting, and especially the art of food presentation, and craft gifts, etc which added by the colorful flower given to Nang Hai, the beauty of costumes of Cuong, So, fairies and the Mother.
It can be said that apart from the spiritual belief practice, visitors to Nang Hai festival in Tien Thanh commune, Phuc Hoa district might be able to enjoy the creativness of arts. This Festival gradually regarded as the typical community and cultural practice of Tay people ingeneral and Tay people in Tien Thanh commune, Phuc Hoa district in particular.
With outstanding historical and cultural values, the Nang Hai festival of Tay people in Tien Thanh, Phuc Hoa, Cao Bang province was listed and awarded the certificate of National intangible heritage in the Decision No 2459/ QĐ-BVHTTDL by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on July 20th 2017.