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Cham people in Binh Thuan celebrates Kate Festival

The Kate Festival, also called Mbang Kate, is held for three days at the beginning of October. This event takes place in a large space at the three big Cham tower temples (Po Nagar, Po Klong Garai, and Po Rome). It is also celebrated further south by the Cham community in and around Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province at the Po Sah Inu (“Poshanu”) Towers. These brick towers built in the late 8th century are unique as they are among the oldest and the best preserved Cham structures still standing and in use by the local Cham community. Po Sah Inu was a princess of the Balamon (Hindu) Cham and daughter of King Para Chanh, who was loved by her people for her talent and virtue.

The main purpose of the Kate festival is for the Cham to commemorate their heroes, kings Po Klong Garai and Po Rome, as well as the deaths of their ancestors. Moreover, the festival is a chance for the local people to socialize and to wish each other good fortune in the future.

Kate is the biggest and most important event for the Cham community in Vietnam. Therefore, it is a good opportunity for visitors to experience the beauty of the Cham culture, from architecture to costumes, instruments and traditional songs that are used to praise their past kings and heroes who have been canonized according to Cham custom.

The Kate festival starts at the same time on the first day of the seventh month in the Cham calendar (usually September or October) and lasts for three days in each tower. This Year, Kate festival of ethnic Cham people in Binh Thuan province will take place from October, 7th to October, 9th, 2018 at the relic of Po Sah Inu tower in Phan Thiet city (located in Quarter 5, Phu Hai Ward, Phan Thiet City)

During the rites, the people call their ancestors and gods with the help of a shaman, and then pray for health and prosperity. The majority of the festival activities take place after the rites. Throughout the festival, many other activities also taken played constantly such as cultural exchanges, culinary contest, traditional weaving, traditional pottery making contest, rice crushing contest, obstacle race, tug of war, performance of Saranai trumpet, Ginang and Paranung drummers…

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