Ethnic women play football in skirts in mountainous market
Update: Oct 16, 2023
Ha Lau is the only mountainous commune in Tien Yen district, Quang Ninh province to have an ethnic market. Visitors not only take in rich cultures of different ethnic minorities but can also join in exciting football matches played by local ethnic women.

Female footballers in the traditional costumes of the San Chi and Dao Thanh Y. (Photo: Lan Anh)

Ha Lau ethnic market is held every last Sunday of the month. The market offers various kinds of local specialties: Tien Yen chicken, honey, sticky rice cake, smoked buffalo meat, and traditional costumes of ethnic minority people.

Apart from trading activities, Ha Lau commune’s authorities have organized cultural, music, and sports events showcasing the unique cultures of the local ethnic groups of the Dao, San Chi, and Tay to attract visitors. Female football has become a tourist attraction here. 

Ha Lau commune has 6 hamlets, 4 of which have their own women’s football teams competing on every market day. For each match, 16 female players are divided into 2 teams, who play in the traditional costumes of Dao Thanh Y and San Chi ethnic groups. 

 “It is not easy to play in the traditional costume, so we need to be quick and skillful,” said player Ha Thi Hoa.

The colorful costumes of the Dao Thanh Y on the football field. (Photo: Lan Anh)

Nguyen Van Quang, a commune-level cadre and the referee, said playing football in traditional costumes is unique.

 “Each ethnic group has its own traditional costume. In football, the clothing somehow affects the movement of the players, but it is a unique characteristic of football here,” said Quang.

On normal days, Ha Lau women work as teachers or farmers, but on market day, they run after the ball, compete to shoot and score. Despite not following the game rules sometimes, all the players feel happy. 

“I feel so excited and proud. I hope that more such market days will be held to create opportunities for locals and visitors to exchange,” said Be Thi Ly, a kindergarten teacher of the Tay ethnic group.

(Photo: Lan Anh) 

Nguyen Thanh Tung, Acting Chairman of Ha Lau, said the commune maintains the market day as a playground to promote solidarity and provide more experiences for visitors.

“Cultural, music, and sport events are held once every month on Ha Lau market day. This is an opportunity for local people to participate in cultural and music events, exchange agricultural products, and attract more tourists,” said Tung.

Ethnic women’s football is a tourist attraction here as it reflects the cultural and spiritual lives of the ethnic minority people. 

VOVWORLD - - October 14, 2023