Photographer's Note

Welcome to "buffalo fight"festival in DoSon,HaiPhong,VietNam!

Two buffaloes face each other, heads lowered, wild-eyed. Around the ring, the crowd falls quiet, until the only sound is that of the buffaloes 'angry snorts'. Suddenly, they charge. There's a shuddering jolt as the buffaloes lock horns. The ground shakes with the force of their impact and the onlookers go wild, screaming in support. Finally, one buffalo which is tired and unable to withstand the punishing blows, turns to flee. The victor follows, eager for blood, and the crowd emits a gasp.
Preparations for the Do Son buffalo festival begin months in advance. In the sixth lunar month each hamlet selects one buffalo from a number of beasts specially bred and trained to fight. On August 9th of the lunar calendar, the festival opens with a ritual offering to the gods of a buffalo, a pig and a basket of sticky rice. Next comes a procession in which 12 young men carry a palanquin, followed by drummers, musicians and the six fighting buffaloes, flanked by a second group of 12 men, all dressed in red. Accompanied by drummers, these 12 men wave flags to announce the start of the buffalo fight. Matches can last for hours and, some years, the fights run late into the night. Finally the exhausted buffaloes are led away and a winner is declared.
The victor's glory, however, is short-lived. That night all of the buffaloes will be slaughtered and the meat distributed to the participating hamlets. The festival ends when the head of the winning buffalo is thrown into the ocean as a tribute to the God of the Sea.

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