« ONG ĐỊA », THE SPIRIT OF THE EARTH
« Ong Dia » (the spirit of the earth) is a very important character in Vietnam’s classical opera and in the Unicorn dances during TET.
You can easily recognise this mythical creature with his moonlike face mask, his broad smile and his big belly. He does not speak and makes people laugh with his gestures.
Popular beliefs say it has the power to summon the unicorn. That is why during the festive dances of TET, it takes the lead in order to clear the path for the unicorn.
« Ong Dia” and the unicorn are very symbolic in supposedly chasing away the evil spirits and bringing good luck and fortune.
Within each family, « Ong Dia » is honored on the family altar, it’s one of the 2 characters always present, the « big belly » one.