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VN’s royal celebrations underway (April 14, 2003)

Traditional contest: Dragon-boat racing forms part of the annual festivities. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
Vietnamese people nation-wide and overseas always commemorate the anniversary of the death of the Hung kings, which falls on the 10th day of the third lunar month every year.

The commemoration celebration, held in the temple dedicated to the Hung kings in the northern mountainous province of Phu Tho, is an opportunity for Vietnamese to show respect to their ancestors.

This year, the Hung Temple Festival runs from April 7 to 11. The main incense-offering ceremony was scheduled to be held on Friday, featuring folk song and dance performances.

During the festival, a banner is hung at the top of Nghia Linh Mountain, while 41 communes in Vinh Phu stage processions and make offerings to their ancestors. The processions are accompanied by bands playing traditional music, and take as long as three days, covering long distances. In addition, many traditional cultural activities are held, including traditional wrestling and games.

The Hung kings, the ancestors of Viet Nam’s Bach Viet ethnic group, were the first-born babies of the 100 children born to Lac Long Quan and Au Co.

The kings made their capital in what is now Viet Tri, founding a kingdom called Van Lang. It is said that the kings chose this as the capital because it was where three rivers met and had a favourable terrain. Their choice was also said to be based on sophisticated principles of geomancy, the art of predictions the future by scattering earth on the floor.

Perhaps as a result, their dynasty ruled through 18 generations.

According to historical records, the Hung kingdom covered an area from present Ba Vi to Tam Dao mountain, over present-day provinces such as Vinh Phuc, Ha Tay, Tuyen Quang and Yen Bai.

The anniversary of the kings’ death is celebrated every year at Nghia Linh Mountain, which, during the Hung Dynasty, was used as a natural setting for worshipping gods. According to legend, the Hung kings and their entourages would visit the mountain to worship the creator and the rice god, praying for their blessings in reproduction and crop success. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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