Releasing pigeons (tha chim)
long with other traditional festival games, releasing pigeons has
attracted numerous participants since the distant past. Some villages
including Tam Giang and Hoan Son villages in Bac Ninh Province still
maintain the tradition.
year, Hoan Son and Tam Giang villagers organise bird-releasing
festivals in the early summer and mid autumn during the third and the
eighth lunar months. Each family raises two or three flocks of pigeons.
Judges stipulate that each flock in the spring contest may have ten
pigeons but only eight in the autumn. The contests are open to
anyone-not just Bac Ninh residents. Bird lovers use these occasions to
exchange experiences and learn from each other.|
The Judges consist of the trich ha, who distributes numbers to participants and then call the numbers for the birds' release, and the trich thuong,
who observes the arrangement of birds in the sky to determine the
winner, a flock of birds flies beautifully when all their heads huddle
together. Seen from the ground, they look like an arrow disappearing on
the contest every trainer practises releasing his birds so that the
pigeons are familiar with the flight direction. All the birds return
unless they lose their way in a heavy storm. Intelligent pigeons can
return to their owner seven days or even two years later".
bird owner should pay attention to the pigeons' eyes, nostrils and wings
to have birds that fly both high and well. Good birds usually have eyes
with small, round pupils. Birds with translucent, dry eyes do best at
the hot summer festival, and those with wet eyes are best for the dry
autumn contest. Birds with small nostrils are better than those with big
ones because they can withstand windy conditions and fly higher. Large
wings, short tails and narrow shoulders also enable birds to be strong,
Releasing pigeons is considered a refined form of
entertainment. As a traditional saying goes, "Men enjoy many kinds of
games, but nothing is as pleasurable as releasing birds".