Viet Nam News -
PHÚ THỌ — The roads leading to the Hùng Temple Complex in Việt Trì City seem to be getting smaller these days. More and more vehicles carrying people from all over the country are flocking to the holy site in the northern province of Phú Thọ.
They are visiting the complex to pay tribute to the people’s ancestors, the Hùng kings on their death anniversary. On the tenth day of the third lunar month, which this year falls on April 16, the death anniversary of the Hùng kings is celebrated.
Although the official name of the festival is the Death Anniversary of the Hùng Kings, the date is traditional and does not the mark the death date of any particular Hùng king. The Hùng Temple Festival became a national festival in 2007.
“I feel happy and proud seeing the complex renovated and the festival gather more and more people. It is well organised,” said Lê Khắc Tiên, a pilgrim from the northern province of Hải Dương.
According to Lưu Quang Huy, director of the Hùng Kings’ Temple Relic Site, the managing board has applied various solutions to better control activities at the festival.
“Taking care of the site’s environment this year will be better as more cleaners are working at the site, more dust bins have been placed and more convenient public toilets installed,” he said. “ Shops and restaurants are well organised in separate areas,” he added.
Hà Kế San, deputy chairman of Phú Thọ’s People’s Committee said various sporting and cultural activities have been taking place since April 12 at the complex and in neighbouring areas.
Three finalists of a national design competition for a Hùng king statue have been selected. These will be on display at the site and the public can vote for which statue they like best.
“These are the best designs. All three expose the strength and power of the Hùng King in his facial expressions and gestures,” noted Vi Kiến Thành, head of the Department for Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition.
After polling people’s opinions at the site, the judges of the competition will select the most favoured design to cast as the winner. The final statue will be placed on a hill at the site.
This year’s festival has gathered thousands of professional and amateur artists from the northern province of Hưng Yên, the central province of Bình Thuận and southern province of Cà Mau. The artists have been giving performances on outdoor stages in Việt Trì City.
The Hùng Kings’ Temple Relic Complex is located within a total area of over 1,000 hectares, more than half of which is forest. The complex is dotted with dozens of temples dedicated to Hùng kings.
There are over 300 temples dedicated to Hùng kings and other figures of the Hồng Bàng dynasty (2879BC to 258BC) in Phú Thọ Province, and nearly 1,500 sites dedicated to the kings throughout the country.
On December 6, 2012, UNESCO officially placed the ‘worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ’ on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
City commemorate ancestors
More than 50 artisans from HCM City will make a huge bánh chưng (square glutinous rice cake) weighing 2.5 tonnes to offer ancestors on the opening day of the national Hùng Kings’ Festival, April 16.
The cake will be made from 1,500kg of glutinous rice and mung beans, 200kg of pork and many other ingredients.
The artisans will also use 350kg of banana leaves and lá dong (a traditional kind of leaf) to wrap the cake. They will spend 70 hours cooking it.
The cake will be shared with visitors after the ceremony, which begins at 8am on Saturday at Đầm Sen Cultural Park in District 11.
The national holiday on March 10 of the lunar calendar, created by the Government in 2007, honours the founding of the country by the legendary Hùng family over 4,000 years ago.
This year, the festival will include a palanquin procession and an incense offering by city authorities and visitors, who will visit the Temple of the Hùng Kings located in District 1’s Zoological and Botanical Garden early in the morning.
It will also include many cultural activities and traditional performances of song and dance, games and martial arts competitions.
In Đầm Sen Park, dozens of professional performers in traditional clothes will present dance items that feature historical stories about the Hùng dynasty and its 18 generations that ruled the country.
Highlighted shows will feature cải lương (reformed opera) stars such as Lệ Thủy, Thanh Ngân and Võ Minh Lâm.
The artists will perform famous extracts from plays in praise of the country and national heroes, including Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga (Queen Dương Vân Nga), Tiếng Trống Mê Linh (Mê Linh Drums), and Tả Quân Lê Văn Duyệt (General Lê Văn Duyệt).
A traditional cake making contest will also be held, attracting several hundred students from 50 schools around the city. The participants will make 50 types of cake originating from ethnic minority groups.
Another anniversary celebration organised by the city’s Youth Cultural House will attract more than 7,000 students and young people. They will learn more about the country’s history, traditional culture and lifestyle. The event will include a camping night, which will feature cultural activities such as dragon dancing and the unveiling calligraphy works.
Guests will participate in special traditional music and dance programmes, which will be staged for free along with folk games, circus and water puppet shows, and sports competitions. — VNS