Viet Nam News
NINH BINH — The opening ceremony of 2017 Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival was held on Thursday, the sixth day of the first lunar month, in northern province of Ninh Binh. The annual festival will remain open until the third lunar month of this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and Secretary of Ninh Binh provincial Party Committee, Nguyen Thi Thanh, representatives of Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and thousands of Buddhism followers and visitors all participated in the event.
The old Bai Dinh Pagoda was built thousand years ago and is one of the famous destinations of Ninh Binh Province, former capital of Viet Nam," said monk Thich Thanh Nhieu of Bai Dinh pagoda.
“Experiencing the ups and downs of history, the pagoda has been greatly valued and preserved by Buddhist followers and local people,” said monk Thich Thanh Nhieu.
To tap into the cultural and moral value of Buddhism, the old Bai Dinh Pagoda was expanded with new rooms being constructed. The current Bai Dinh Pagoda has become a symbol of cultural and moral value as well as a religious centre for Buddhism followers, he added.
Bai Dinh Pagoda is included in the Trang An Landscape Complex, which is recognised as World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO. The province expects to host more visitors to its Bai Dinh pagoda and other landscapes in the upcoming years, said Secretary of Ninh Binh provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thi Thanh.
This is the third time the festival has been held since Trang An Landscape Complex was recognised by UNESCO in 2014.
The new Bai Dinh Pagoda, also known as Bai Dinh Buddhism Spiritual Centre, covers 700ha, and is the largest in Viet Nam in terms of size. "Bai Dinh" means "the worship of heaven and earth, Buddha and celestial angels."
The 1977th anniversary of Hai Ba Trung Uprising was held and Hai Ba Trung Temple Festival opened in Me Linh District, Ha Noi city on Thursday with the participation of Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, former Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan, state and city leaders and local people.
Hai Ba Trung (Trung sisters) were two women, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, who made a victory in a battle against Chinese Han invaders in AD 40.
Also on Thursday, a neu pole lowering ceremony was held in The Mieu Shrine, Hue, former imperial citadel. The ceremony is to remind people to resume work after the holiday. Neu pole was lowered with its root being taken from the ground. The seal which had been hanging from the top of the pole was also taken down.
Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Centre Phan Thanh Hai said one of the things that locals anticipated the most was the moment the seal was taken down and stamped in paper with words like blessing and happiness. It is believed to bring good things to the recipients, said Hai.
Traditionally, the erecting of the Neu Pole signified the break of the Royal Court’s activities for the New Year Holiday. The Emperor would order the Royal Seal, Sword and Pen to be hung till proceedings resumed. The meaning behind this ceremony was to prevent evil and stop demons. All of these allowed the Vietnamese people to enter the new year with a fresh start and a happy mind. Citizens would only begin their New Year celebrations after the Neu Pole was erected.
In Bac Giang Province, the 590th anniversary of Xuong Giang victory was also held and with the launch of Xuong Giang Temple. The event is to pay respect and commemoration to king Le Loi, soldiers and Xuong Giang people who fought and sacrificed in this proud land.
This festival is built on the basis of Chi Lang – Xuong Giang victory in 1427 of Dai Viet (former name of Viet Nam) people against nearly 10 ten thousand Minh enemy.
The festival in Bac Giang also featured quan ho (love duets) singing, ritual mediumship performance and a demonstration of rural market. —VNS