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Hung King Temple Festival

Hung King Temple Festival: A vital Vietnamese celebration

31/03/2024 2948 views

The Hung King Temple Festival in Vietnam is a revered annual event. It pays tribute to the nation’s legendary founders through rituals, ceremonies, and cultural festivities, uniting communities in ancestral reverence and national pride.

Hung King Temple Festival

Hung Kings’ Festival is a significant cultural event in Vietnam (Source: Collected)

The Hung King Temple Festival pays homage to the nation’s legendary founders through a tapestry of rituals, ceremonies, and cultural spectacles. This cherished annual event serves as a unifying force, fostering a sense of communal reverence and national pride while offering a captivating glimpse into Vietnam’s ancient traditions and cultural legacy. If you travel to Vietnam in lunar March, this festival is undoubtedly a must-not-miss. 

1. About Hung King Temple Festival: Time and place

The Hung King Temple Festival, also known as the Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings, is one of the most significant festivals in Vietnam, dedicated to commemorating the founding contributions of the Hung Kings, the nation’s earliest rulers. It takes place at the Hung Kings Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain in Phong Chau district, Vinh Phuc province, approximately 100 kilometers north of Hanoi. 

This place is a renowned tourist destination, featuring a complex of ancient architectural marvels, including tombs, temples, and venerable shrines. Due to historical fluctuations and the ravages of time, the temple’s structures have undergone multiple renovations and reconstructions, most notably in 1922.

When does the Hung King Temple Festival take place? Occurring annually on the 10th day of the third lunar month, the festival spans a week of traditional cultural activities, culminating in a grand procession and ceremonial offerings at the temple. The grandeur of the festival captivates not only countless Vietnamese but also travelers from afar, drawn by the allure of witnessing this culturally rich and significant event.

Hung King Temple Festival

The event takes place on the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month, commemorating the death anniversary of the Hung Kings (Source: Collected)

2. The long-established history of Hung King Temple Festival

The Hung King Temple Festival Vietnam traces its origins back to ancient times, holding a revered status in the consciousness of the Vietnamese people. Historically, rulers preceding the Hau Le dynasty directly managed the Hung Kings Temple, delegating maintenance, repairs, and ceremonial rites to local communities on the 10th day of the third lunar month and offering them tax exemptions as compensation. 

Under the Nguyen dynasty in 1917, this date was officially designated as the National Ancestral Death Anniversary, aligning with the traditional festival of honoring the Hung kings. This tradition persisted through the 20th-century Indochina War, with March 10th (lunar calendar) being recognized as one of the public holidays in Vietnam since 1946.

3. The cultural significance of Hung King Temple Festival

Hung King Temple Festival

The worship of Hung Kings is a UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage of humanity (Source: Collected)

The Hung King Temple Festival is a profound cultural event in Vietnam, fostering a collective sense of unity and gratitude among its people. Celebrated nationwide on the anniversary of the Hung Kings, it serves as a poignant reminder of their invaluable contributions to the nation’s establishment and defense. 

Through cultural activities and rituals, the Hung Temple Festival educates and instills in both Vietnamese people and expatriates a deep appreciation for Vietnam’s rich heritage and the enduring values of unity and resilience. Recognized by UNESCO in 2012 as an intangible cultural heritage, the worship of the Hung Kings symbolizes the nation’s spiritual unity and the timeless tradition of acknowledging one’s roots while moving forward.

4. How does Hung King Temple Festival take place?

4.1. The ceremony of Hung King Temple Festival

The Hung King Festival Vietnam intertwines solemn rituals with festive celebrations, emblematic of Northern Delta festivals. Government representatives and delegations participate in the grand ritual held at the Upper Temple, where traditional offerings such as banh chung, banh day, and meats are presented with reverence. 

As the music begins to play, the presiding officiant recites prayers to report past deeds and seek blessings. Following each prayer, there is a round of drums and gongs. Then, the procession of ceremonial participants moves forward, kneeling at the forefront, before gradually receding. This sequence of rituals continues until the presiding officiant concludes the prayers.

Hung King Temple Festival

Annually, the Hung King Temple Festival sees the active participation of the President and other key government officials in Vietnam (Source: Collected)

Colorful floats and ornate palanquins glide through the festivities, accompanied by villagers, infusing the atmosphere with vibrancy. Meanwhile, elderly officials don traditional court attire reminiscent of ancient times, donning robes, pleated trousers, and either folded scarves or winged hats, evoking a palpable sense of historical nostalgia throughout the event.

4.2. The festival of Hung King Temple Festival

The eagerly anticipated festivities at the Hung King Temple Festival typically kick off on the 8th day of the 3rd lunar month. As visitors embark on their pilgrimage to the temple, they are welcomed into a vibrant tapestry of cultural activities deeply rooted in folk traditions.

During the festival, attendees can partake in a myriad of lively events, including Xoan singing, an ancient musical tradition of Phu Tho, and Ca tru singing held at the Lower Temple. Moreover, there are numerous traditional games to indulge in, such as bamboo stick jumping, stilt walking, wrestling, blindfolded stick dancing, and cockfighting, as well as the making and sharing of banh chung and banh giay (traditional Vietnamese cakes), alongside the excitement of duck-catching.

Immersing oneself in the joyful atmosphere filled with laughter and cheers at the Hung King Temple Festival guarantees an unforgettable experience, leaving an indelible mark on all who attend.

The festival hosts a multitude of captivating traditional cultural activities

The festival hosts a multitude of captivating traditional cultural activities (Source: Collected)

>>> Explore: Vietnam culture: 10 key features that shape the country’s traditions

5. Things to know to participate in Hung King Temple Festival

Before attending the Hung King Temple Festival, it is essential to consider these tips to ensure a respectful, safe, and enriching experience:

  • Dress respectfully and adhere to traditional customs when visiting the Hung King Temple, avoiding revealing clothing and refraining from photography inside the temple.
  • Ensure safety by using front-worn backpacks or crossbody bags to prevent theft and incidents in crowded areas during the festival, especially during peak times like the Hung King Temple Festival.
  • Plan transportation in advance to avoid parking issues and traffic congestion, considering options like carpooling, hiring a taxi, or using public transportation.
  • Remember travel essentials such as identification documents, extra fuel, and basic repair tools if traveling by motorbike or car to the festival.
  • Stay hydrated and energized throughout the festival by bringing water and snacks, as food and beverage options may be limited or crowded.
  • Respect cultural customs and religious rituals observed at the temple, refraining from disruptive behavior and loud conversations.
  • Follow safety guidelines provided by event organizers and authorities, staying within designated areas, especially during crowded ceremonies and performances.
  • Immerse yourself in the festival experience by engaging with locals, participating in traditional activities, and embracing the festive atmosphere to create lasting memories.
Hung King Temple Festival

Tourists should demonstrate appropriate behavior and show respect when visiting the Hung Kings Temple (Source: Collected)

>>> Read more: Vietnam holiday: Enchant your trip with festivities throughout the year

The Hung King Temple Festival serves as a timeless testament to Vietnam’s deep-rooted traditions and reverence for its ancestral roots. This annual event not only commemorates the legendary Hung Kings but also offers a profound cultural experience for attendees, showcasing the nation’s rich heritage and instilling a sense of national pride and unity among participants.

Aside from delving into Vietnamese festivals, your visit to this beautiful country would be incomplete without immersing yourself in the breathtaking Vietnam nature. Renowned destinations like Hanoi, Ha Long, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, and more promise a journey brimming with wonders and delights, from stunning landscapes and vibrant cultural attractions to delectable culinary offerings.

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