Venue: Don Village, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province
The Elephant Race Festival takes place in springtime, normally in the third lunar month. In preparation for the festive day, people take their elephants to places where they can eat their fill. Apart from grass their food also includes bananas, papayas, sugar canes, corns, sweet potatoes. The elephants are free from hard work to preserve their strength.
On the big day, elephants from different villages gather at Don Village. People from near and far in their best and colorful costumes flock to the festival. The racing ground is 500m long and wide enough for ten elephants to stand simultaneously.
The winning elephant is given a laurel wreath. Like its owner, the elephant expresses its happiness and enjoy the sugar canes and bananas from the festival goers. After this race, the elephants participate in the competition of swimming across the Serepok River, tug-of-wars, or throwing balls and playing football.
The elephant race constitutes a big festival in the Central Highlands. It reflects the martial spirit of the M'Nong people, an ethnic group famous for their bravery in wild elephant hunting. The magnificent landscape of the Central Highlands further stresses the grandiose characters of this traditional festival.