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Kings Hung temple festival

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Kings Hung (Hùng - Valorous) temple festival is a crowned anniversary of which, thousands of years passed away under the Chinese domination, the organization is never forgotten by Vietnamese people. It is a great festival on national scale in commemoration of Kings Hung, who had the merit of building the country. The habit to celebrate this anniversary became for a long time the cultural tradition in Vietnam. It is a festival of the whole country, of all the people and in the Vietnamese popular conception, it carries the most crowned value. Thus, the festival is solemnly organized every year with the rites of a national ceremony, the pilgrimage "towards the origin of people" of thousands of pilgrims from all the country's corners and also in overseas.


The festival lasts from lunar March 8 to 11 but the 10 is the feastday. Like all the other festivals in the delta of North, the one of Kings Hung temple is made up of two parts: the ceremony and the festival.


 thi gói bánh  
 Inhabitants from provinces prepare offerings for Kings Hung  


The ceremony is celebrated solemnly with the national rites. The offerings are "three living beings" (pig, goat and ox), "bánh chưng" (square sticky rice cake), "bánh dày" (crushed sticky rice pudding) and multicolored sticky rice, musical instrument is the old bronze drum. After blows of bronze drum, the titrated characters celebrate the ceremony under the direction of a master. Then, the Notables in the host village celebrate the ceremony. Lastly, the inhabitants and the pilgrims enter the temple to think with enthusiasm of Kings Hung.


  Lễ tam sinh 
  "The triples offering", pig, goat and ox 


After the ceremony, it is the festival. In the Kings Hung (Hùng) temple festival, the contest of sedan-chair is organized between villages every year. The presence of the processions makes the festival's environment jubilant and animated. The sedan-chairs must gather several days in advance. The winner sedan-chair of the year will be selected in the following year as the representative responsible for the procession towards Thuong (Thượng - Superior) temple. Thus the winner chair will be the pride of its village. Because they believe that they are blessed by Kings Hung and gods.


 lễ hội 
 The pilgrims from all corners take part in Kings Hung temple festival
 


Each procession is made up of three successive sedan-chairs. They are gilded and carved thoroughly. The decoration of the chair is also skilful and pleasant to see. The plate in the head contains flowers, incenses, betel and areca, wine and water bottle. The second plate contains furnace bridge and ancestral shelves of saints with the parasols and ranges of several serious colors. The third plate carries rice cakes and a head of cooked pig. The three plates are followed by the leaders and the notables of the village. Leaders in wide formal robes like the mandarins and the notables in red or white trousers with the turban with the head. On the feastday, anniversary of the ancestors, the ceremony songs (known as Xoan song) are presented. It is an essential and particular rite. The Xoan song is formerly called Xuân song and this mode of song was dated from the Hung Vuong dynasty and largely transmitted among inhabitants of the villages in neighborhoods. The Xoan song was interested by many people, especially Mrs Lan Xuân, wife of King Ly Than Tong (Lý Thần Tông). She understood its particular folk melody and she got to collect and transform in ceremony songs of certain temples consecrated to Kings Hung.


 Hát Xoan 
 "Hát xoan", an essential rite of the festival  


Firstly, the leader of the group Xoan Kim Duc (Kim Đức) - a famous group - and the master of ceremony sing the prayers in front of the furnace bridge. Then, a young dancer with the drum on the chest practises the drum dance. Then, four dancers sing poems and offer incense in the usual manner. Finally, the praises the divinity finishes the part of Xoan ceremony.


In Ha (Hạ - Inferior) temple, people organize "Ca trù" (song of the courtiers). It is a kind of ceremony song in front of the temple, interpreted by group Do Nghia (Do Nghĩa) on the occasion of the village's festival.


In the temple's yard, on a free ground, it is the "đu tiên" (fairies swing). Two fairies (Mường young girls in beautiful dress) sat on each side. The swing is turned thanks to the kicks in turn on the ground of the girls. It is an elegant and rhythmic game of the girls. At the foot of Hung mount, it is the animated interpretations and folk games with a lot of participants, like launches stick, swing, body to body fight, cockfight... The elderly like playing the human chess, or cards. Young people gather on the hills for "hát ví", "hát trống quân" or "hát đối đáp" (singing alternatively). At the fallen night, people organize "hát chèo" (opera), "hát tuồng" (traditional theatre) on the ground at the door of Ha or Gieng temple. The environment of the festival, at the same time solemn and animated, touches the participants' heart. Kings Hung Temple festival is a beautiful tradition of Viets. And since the old time, in the inhabitants' thought, the ancestral ground became the "crowned sanctuary" of the country and origin of the people. Many years passed away, in spite of the vicissitudes, Kings Hung temple festival is regularly organized, which reflects the extraordinary character and the glorious culture of the Vietnamese people. The pilgrims on the ancestral ground, in spite of their religion, just Vietnamese people, from the bottom of their heart, are proud of their origin, descendants of Kings Hung. Therefore, all Vietnamese people, just with faithful heart and wishes of taking part a day in the pilgrimage, can carry it out easily. 


Source: simplevietnam.com


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