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[Photos] Get Set, Row: The Aquatic Exuberance of Soc Trang's Ooc Om Bok Festival

Also called the Moon Worship festival, Ooc Om Bok is one of the liveliest festivals in the Khmer calendar.

After the harvest, Khmer people in the Mekong Delta use this opportunity to thank the moon goddess for fruitful crops and prosperity, as well as to celebrate the end of the Khmer calendar. A series of cultural activities, such as traditional art performances, a dance festival, a lantern-release ceremony, and folk sport and games are organized during the festival.

But the highlight of the event is the Ghe Ngo boat race, bringing together 48 teams from the different provinces around Soc Trang to compete on the river over two days. The impressive dragon boats are 22 to 24 meters long and carry 50 to 60 rowers. These boats are valuable community assets and used only once a year for the festival. Check out the spirited racing below.

Umbrellas are common in the delta heat.

Two teams competing in their colorful boats.

Umbrella or helmet — why not both?

A standing room-only crowd.

A team waits in their boat.

Who says vuvuzela can only be used at the World Cup?

Some fans will do anything for a better view of the action.

One attentive, and one distracted, local monk.

We're glad this company provided an umbrella for the cameraman.

A coxswain leads his crew.

If they rowed any faster they might take off!

The crowd is rapt.

Waiting for the next race.

Do you think they have TikTok?

Rowers working hard.

The heat of the action.

Imagine if hot dog vendors at baseball games had to stand in knee-deep water.

A grand view of many of the competing teams.

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