Thursday, 07/04/2011 09:35

Culture Vulture

The Hung Kings' Temple Festival starts today. It celebrates the reign of the nation's legendary founders at their temple in the midland province of Phu Tho, about 120km from Ha Noi.

The Vietnam News Agency interviews the chairman of Phu Tho Province People's Committee, Hoang Dan Mac, about preparations for the festival.

Could you say something about the festival?

The Hung Kings' Temple Festival is held to commemorate the founders of the Vietnamese nation, an event deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen. The festival will be held in Phu Tho with participation of Tuyen Quang, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Quang Ngai and Dong Thap provinces chosen to represent people from the north, centre and south of the country.

The festival will run until April 12 and will include ceremonies and festivities. Phu Tho has prepared essential infrastructure, such as car parks - and also approved festival scripts.

Historical sites and landscapes such as the Ha and Gieng temples on Nghia Linh Mountain and Lac Long Quan Lake have been upgraded. A new 1,000-space car park has been built to handle a flood of visitors.

Most festival activities will will be held in open space at the Hung Kings' Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain to Viet Tri city and in the two districts of Lam Thao and Phu Ninh.

What activities will be held?

The main activities will include an incense offering ceremony to the Hung Kings and a palanquin procession from surrounding villages to the Hung Kings' Temple. Lion dances, bronze drum music and xoan folksong singing will also take place.

Offerings to the Kings from the whole nation and foreign friends will be placed on view.

An accompanying series of events will be set up, such as a tea festival, ethnic fashion show, traditional cake making and art performances along with sporting events, including volleyball, Chinese chess, traditional wrestling, cross-bow markmanship and traditional rowing.

The festival is an annual event, but is there anything new this year?

This year, we will focus on ceremonial activities. We are preparing two ceremonies to celebrate Au Co and Lac Long Quan, the ancestors of the Vietnamese.

The ceremonies will be held in the Temple with royal rites, including special offerings.

A seminar on worshipping the Hung Kings will also be held with the participation of Vietnamese and foreign researchers.

The seminar is aimed at completing a submission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proposing the recognition of the Hung Kings Festival as a world intangible cultural heritage.

Could you talk about the final submission for the heritage of worshipping the Hung Kings and xoan singing ?

A steering committee was set up to prepare the submission. We have been working in co-operation with relevant governmental bodiesfor a long time. We have sent a report to the Prime Minister.

Xoan singing was proposed as an intangible heritage to the Viet Nam National UNESCO Commission on March 31.

What is the significance of the Hung Kings ceremony?

Worshipping the national ancestors began at the Kings' Temple many centuries ago.

All Vietnamese people from all ethnic groups and different religions remember the 10th day of the third lunar month.

Every year, millions of Vietnamese pilgrims at home and abroad travel to the temple to show their respects. — VNS

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