Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NINH — The Cửa Ông Temple Festival – one of the special cultural and historical relics in the country’s northeast – has officially opened in Cẩm Phả District in the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh.
This year’s edition of the annual event was enlivened by a unique distinction: the temple has just received a certificate of special national intangible cultural heritage status, an honour marked with a ceremony held on Sunday by the provincial People’s Committee.
Thousands of visitors have rushed to join the festival, titled Cửa Ông - truyền thống vẻ vang - điểm đến linh thiêng” (Cửa Ông - a glorious tradition and sacred destination), in recent days.
This year, the festival is particularly large, with events in two parts. The major celebration began with the incense offering at the Thượng (Upper) Temple, followed by a palanquin procession by 28 groups along the road from the Hạ (Lower) Temple towards Cửa Ông Temple.
Festivities started in the Thượng and Hạ temples with various traditional games including chess playing, rice cooking and cock fighting.
A performance programme with theme Bản hùng ca cửa biển (An epic of sea) attracted the participation of more than 500 actors and actress. The programme concluded with a 15-minute fireworks performance.
Speaking at the ceremony on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình acknowledged the efforts of Quảng Ninh Province as well as Cẩm Phả and Vân Đồn districts in preserving and promoting the cultural, historical and traditional values of the region.
He urged the province to accelerate socio-economic development by particularly focusing on tourism, ensuring the protection of Cửa Ông Temple’s historical and cultural value.
Cửa Ông Temple is located near Bái Tử Long Bay, close to the World Heritage Hạ Long Bay. The temple is dedicated to Trần Quốc Tảng, a hero under the Trần Dynasty in the 11th century.
The festival is held to commemorate his contributions in defeating enemies in the resistance war against Mongol invaders and bringing peace to the northeast region.
With its three main areas of the Hạ, Trung and Thượng temples, the Cửa Ông temple complex is the only one worshiping all family members of General Trần Hưng Đạo, the Supreme Commander of Việt Nam’s army during the Trần Dynasty. He commanded the Đại Việt army to repel the Mongol invasions in 1258, 1285 and 1288.
The General’s triple victories are considered among the greatest military feats in world history and the commander is regarded as one of the most accomplished military tacticians the world has ever seen.
Festivities including rituals and parade processions are usually held from the second day of the first lunar month to the 30th day of the third lunar month. The main festive days fall on the third and the fourth days of the second lunar month. — VNS