Ha Giang has many markets which open almost any day of the week, called fairs. The fairs often open from 5am until 4pm. Of which some open on fixed days, some are not, called “Chợ lùi” – this is the special culture featured of ethnic groups in Ha Giang.
Ethnic minority people from mountain villages flock to the fairs by foot, horses and motorbikes. They go to the fair alone, with their friends, family or their children. They bring to the fair anything such as: chickens, pigs, skirts, scarves or vegetables which are just freshly picked from the garden in the early morning. People sell their things and buy other things.
In Ha Giang, fixed fairs are: “Ma Lé” fair opens on every Saturday morning; “Yên Minh”, “Đồng Văn” and “Mèo Vạc” open on Sunday morning.
“Chợ lùi” is the fair which opens once a week and the next week it will be opened one day earlier. Ex, if this week it opens on Monday, then the following week it will open on Sunday, next week on Saturday,…
There is a method to calculate the open day which is used by local people. Instead of seven days as other fairs, “Chợ lùi” is exactly opened each six days.
Here is the “Chợ lùi” schedule, only in Ha Giang (lunar calendar):
“Lũng Phìn” fair: Tiger day – Monkey day
“Sà Phìn” fair: Snake day – Pig day
“Phó Bảng” fair: Rat day – Horse day
“Phố Cáo” fair: Monkey day – Dog day
The fair reach closing at noon when all baskets are filled with the essential items and carried back home by horses, followed by a drunk husband and a quiet wife.
Coming to this fair, you can see the sharpest images of the daily lives of people in Ha Giang.