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VIETNAM/
RTR2DRRF
May 12, 2010
Ethnic San Chi girls giggle while attending the "love market" in Khau Vai village in Vietnam's northern...
HA GIANG PROVINCE, Vietnam
Ethnic San Chi girls giggle while attending the "love market" in Khau Vai village in Vietnam's northern...
Ethnic San Chi girls giggle while attending the "love market" in Khau Vai village in Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province, 500 km (310 miles) north of Hanoi May 9, 2010. For nearly a hundred years, thousands of people from local ethnic tribes have convened a "love market" each year in the mountainous village Khau Vai in northern Vietnam on the 26th and 27th days of the third lunar month. This is no ordinary farmer's market. Flirting, courting and, hopefully, canoodling are the order of the day. Some travel days to attend. Young, dreamy singles trek to Khau Vai in hopes of finding a first love. Wayward lovers come to escape their families. Older generations might hope to bump into an old flame. (Married men and women often return to the love market to rendezvous with former lovers, and they are allowed to meet again without jealousy from their spouses during this one event of the year). Members of Giay, Nung, Tay, Dzao, San Chi, Lo Lo and Hmong hill tribes trek from across the mountainous districts of the Dong Van Plateau and as far away as nearby Cao Bang province to Khau Vai, which is in Ha Giang province near the border with China. Legend has it the market dates back to 1919. A young couple from different tribes, Nung and Giay, are said to have met at Khau Vai. The girl was so beautiful, though, that her tribe did not want to let her marry a man from another tribe. A violent conflict resulted between the two tribes. One day, as the boy watched the two tribes do battle, he ran to the girl and they decided that to stop the bloodshed they would part ways. But they made a pact: once a year, on the 26th day of the third month of the lunar year, they would meet at Khau Vai. Thereafter Khau Vai became a meeting place for lovers. Picture taken on May 9, 2010. REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM - Tags: SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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