The population is 800.000 people and account for 1.3% Vietnamese. The majority of Khmer people live in Hau Giang, AnGiang, Kien Giang,Dong Thap, Long An, Tay Ninh. They are descended from the ancient Kho’mer people with a famous civilization in the past. Their villages are often surrounded with pagodas and rows of palm-trees.
Among 50 ethnic groups in VietNam, there are many kinds of festival but one of the most special festival is Ooc-om-boc festival of the Khmers in Nam Bé (Cochinchina under the French domination). The festival is held annually in 15th of October by Khmer people from about 600 village scattered in this area. The main activities in this festival are offerings made to the rabbit on the moon, the water procession and boat racing. The legend about the rabbit on the moon goes that the poor, but generous rabbit was asked for alms by the Genie Porac, disguised as an old man. Having nothing to offer the poor old man, the rabbit collected firewood in the forest and made a bonfire. Then he knelt before the old man and said, ” As I have no food to offer you, please accept my humble meat and feed on it “. With these words, the rabbit jumped into the fire. Deeply moved by the rabbit’s sacrifice, the genie used magic to extinguish the fire and save the rabbit. Then, turning to the moon in the sky, the genie said, “O Moon, please let everyone see clearly the shining example of benevolence and self-denial set by this little creature!”. From then on, the legend says, people have always seen the rabbit on the tenth-month moon. In this occasion, people often make sticky rice cake.
The Ooc-om-boc Festival is an interesting event that atract tourist from other place to come with this land. It helped bring together to all the ethnic minorities living on this land legends of courage and benevolence, the two virtues they most revere.