by Y Nhi
|King for a day: Hue Fatherland Front Committee chairman Tran Phung practises for the Nam Giao and Xa Tac ceremonies over which he will preside at this year's Hue Festival. — VNS Photo Y Nhi
THUA THIEN-HUE — Hue authorities have decided not to have an actor perform the role of a king for two traditional royal ceremonies that will be re-enacted at this year's Festival Hue, and have decided instead that a commoner would perform the rituals in these changed times.
Phan Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Hue Monument Complex Conservation Centre, said the chairman of local Fatherland Front Committee would preside over the Nam Giao and Xa Tac ceremonies.
The Nam Giao ceremony was meant to worship gods in heaven while Xa Tac was done to venerate the Land God and Rice God.
During the Nguyen Dynasty era, only kings were allowed to preside over these ceremonies.
But they were considered so important that kings had to isolate themselves from their wives and be continent, and eat vegetarian food for weeks before the ceremonies.
"Kings were considered as sons of heaven, so they presided over the ceremonies," Hai said.
"But current society is of people, so it will be a person representing the people."
The ceremonies have been re-enacted several times since 2008 at the biannual festival with a local actor performing the role of a king.
This year's ceremonies would be the real thing, Hai said, adding the gods' blessings would be sought for good weather, a good crop, and peace for the entire people.
This year's Festival Hue will be held from April 7 to 14.
Tran Phung, chairman of the Fatherland Front Committee, told Viet Nam News that he was practising hard to perform the ceremonies since he understood their importance and their significance to the people.
After founding the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the early kings set up the Nam Giao Platform on a hill and built the Xa Tac Platform using dozes of soil types brought to Hue from different parts of the country. — VNS