Saturday, 16/02/2019 21:34

Mother Goddess temple in border town attracts tourists from China

Grand: The old temple stands on a mountain near Dong Dang Market in the Dong Dang border town. — Photo
Viet Nam News

LANG SON — Thousands of pilgrims and tourists flocked to the Temple of Mother Goddess in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son on Thursday to attend a festival dedicated to the Mother Goddess. Among the tourists, hundreds were from China.

One of the province’s largest festivals, the old temple stands on a mountain near Dong Dang Market in the Dong Dang border town, where, 40 years ago, on February 17, 1979, 600,000 Chinese invaders flooded across the Vietnamese border, killing thousands of civilians including women and children. The town of Dong Dang was lost on the first day of the attack, but the city’s fortress resisted for five days and was only captured after artillery bombardment.

In contrast to the death and destruction four decades ago, devotees gathered to pray for peace and prosperity as well as to enjoy the festive atmosphere. All roads leading to the temple were packed with cars and motorbikes.

Mother Goddess worship is a local religion with influence from Taoism. Vietnamese worship the Mother Goddesses of three realms: heaven, water, and mountains and forests. The supreme Mother Goddess bears the reproductive, protective and safeguarding power for people. The supreme God carries the gentle face of a mother, who found her escape from feudal restrictions against women.

Holy place: Dong Dang Temple of Mother Goddess is a famous temple built to worship Buddha and Ban Thien Mother Goddess. — Photo

Recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2017, the practice of Dao Mau shares values and beliefs in the compassion and grace of the Mother Goddesses. It provides a foundation for social relations connecting members of participating communities and raises public awareness of women’s roles in society.

Several religious and cultural activities were held during the festival. Tourists had the chance to watch a lion dance, martial arts demonstrations, traditional games and art performances.

About 4km from the Huu Nghi Border Checkpoint, the Dong Dang Temple of Mother Goddess, or Dong Dang Linh Tu (which literally means Dong Dang’s Holy Temple), was built to worship Buddha and Ban Thien Mother Goddess.

To prevent accidental fires, the temple’s management board has banned people from burning incense inside the venue. — VNS


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