|biketrailtours||Date: Saturday, 11 Oct 08, 07:30 | Message # 1|
|Ba Om Pond is called a square pond, but in fact is rectangular, 300 meters wide and 500 meter long. Looking down from the hillside, the pond was coved with water lilies and lotus that bloom in white and purple every summer. |
The legendary pond was formed as a result of a bet between young males and females of the Khmer group. The exact date remains unknown but according to some Luc Masters (the way the Tra Vinh Khmer people respectfully referred to elderly monks), it was formed about 500 to 600 years ago.
A travel guide at the Tra Vinh Khmer Museum named An cited that long ago the Khmer in the region was a matriarchy, so young women had to find partners and prepare betrothal gifts from the bride's family to the bridegroom's family. However, this habit made the young men selfish and they asked for betrothal gifts of increasingly greater value.
For this reason a woman named Om, the leader of women group, sought approval from officials in the region for men do what women had done for centuries. The smart official asked the two groups to dig a pond each, one kilometer apart from each other. Whoever finished first would be the winner and could ask the latter to do whatever they wanted.
This decision benefitted the whole region, for two big ponds contained lots of water that was in need in dry season.
That seems like the fable of the turtle and the rabbit. The group led by Om pretended that they was not strong enough for such a hard job and tried to find shelter to evade the sunshine, so she asked some of the lazy ladies to lure the men by holding parties all day and night. When the next morning came, all men were still in sweet sleep.
As the same time during the previous evening, Om asked her group to light torches and dig the pond all night long. The pond was finished by the next morning and it was named after her. The unfinished pond remains in the site of Pras Tropeang Pagoda.
There is another legend that the two are natural ponds that were there before the settlement of the Khmer in Tra Vinh, for many Khmer people now still use the name Srar Cu (twin ponds) when talking about the ponds. The name Ba Om is another way of pronouncing the name of the vegetable growing naturally around the pond. It is interesting to note that the cows in the region like eating this vegetable, and as a result their flesh is very tasty. Visitors can try the special beef in small food stores in the region.
The complex was recognized as a national historical-cultural relic in 1996. It is a popular site for Khmer festivals, especially the Ok Om Bok, in the middle of Lunar October, when the Khmer people of the whole Mekong Delta gather there to host traditional customs and games.
An elderly Khmer whose job is to sweep the yard of the pagoda said those events are very interesting and exciting. He said if I am free during the festival I should come and stay in the pagoda for the night. His hospitality was from the heart, as is characteristic of the Mekong Delta people.