Before Facebook, there was no simple way to casually catch up with exes from back in the day. That is unless you lived in the small village in Vietnam that dedicates two days of the year to reuniting with the ones who got away.
The "Khau Vai Love Market” is held on the 26th and 27th of the third month of the lunar calendar in the isolated Khau Vai commune. The festival originates from a local legend that tells the story of an ethnic Giay girl who fell in love with an Nung boy from a neighboring province. The girl was so beautiful that her tribe refused to let her marry an outsider, and a bloody conflict between the two communities ensued. The couple agreed to split up to prevent any further bloodshed, but made a secret covenant to meet for one day out of the year. Now every year on that day, the tradition of reuniting with past loves is celebrated in Khau Vai.
Ex-lovers were often couples who were unable to marry for one reason or another, and they use the Love Market as an opportunity to reminisce about happy moments from their past. For visitors who have since married, their spouses don’t mind because they’re catching up with old flames of their own.
The tradition holds less significance than it did in its early years, now that flings are less taboo and exes are just a text message away. But even as its significance wanes, it's also increased in popularity due to the new roads that make the village more accessible and the curious tourists flocking in from greater Vietnam and beyond. Even attendees with no ex-lovers to meet can visit the Love Market to enjoy the regional cuisine or watch a performance of its origin story. And who knows? They may even find a future ex-lover while they’re there.