The Gianh River (Sông Gianh) is 268 km/167 miles long and flows through Quang Binh Province and towards Vietnam’s North Central Coast, emptying into the East Vietnam Sea. After the Trinh-Nguyen War in the 17th century, the river was a natural border between the northern and southern regions.
In 2019, Director Dao Duc Thanh and writer Nguyen Sy Hao created the documentary titled Loving Gianh River. It depicts the river’s role in the Trinh-Nguyen Dynasty, which endured two wars to defend the country’s independence. It also acknowledges the passion for the river that the nearby residents have for it.
Gianh River’s Fishermen Festival
Historically, the fishermen who work the Gianh River are relatively transient, returning to the shore and Xuan Hoi Village about once a year to pay tribute to their ancestors that settled along the banks. On the third lunar month’s night with a full moon, the fishermen and village host a two-night, one-day festival to worship ancestors and wandering spirits that reside by the water.
This festival is pretty unique, being that the only people who can attend from land are members of the old village and that it takes place on several boats in the middle of the river. Many other boats from neighboring regions join in to celebrate, forming a giant congregation of vessels.
2009 Gianh River Boat Accident
On January 25th, 2009, a wooden boat sailing in the Gianh River hit some turbulent waves, fast currents, and strong winds and got into an accident. The boat was designed to carry 20 people but had around 80 bodies on board, overloading its capacity and sinking.
It was reported that about 40 people drowned, mostly children and women, including a couple of pregnant ladies. Other survivors swam to shore, and many remain missing to this day. The accident occurred on the eve of the Tet Lunar New Year, so some of the celebration events were canceled in light of the tragic events.
Address: Gianh River, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
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