HÀ NỘI Many people have flocked to Sóc Temple in Hà Nội for the start of the Gióng Festival on Friday, the sixth day of the first lunar month.
The festival is held annually around the capital to commemorate Saint Gióng, a local hero who sacrificed his life to defeat foreign invaders.
This year, the Sóc Sơn District People's Committee will host the Gióng festival at the Special National Monument of Sóc Temple for three days, from January 27-29.
It is celebrated with processions, rituals and performances.
|The festival opens with a drumming performance. VNA/VNS Photos Nhật Anh|
|The parade is held as a part of the Gióng festival, which draws in a lot of visitors and locals.|
|Bamboo flowers, betel, and areca are offered to Saint Gióng and then presented to visitors.|
|Models of elephants and horses are offered during the ceremony.|
|A marcher is carrying a tray of bamboo flowers to offer to Saint Gióng.|
The organisers of this year's Gióng festival touted the event's renewed emphasis on entertainment as the festival's most notable change.
The festival set up various folk games, including stilt walking, balancing a bridge, breaking earthen pots and cooking competitions.
The Special National Monument of Sóc Temple also hosts various arts performances throughout the festival days.
Saint Gióng, one of Việt Nam's four 'immortal heroes,' is said to have been a little boy from Hà Nội's Phù Đổng Village who helped bring peace to the country by defeating the Ân invader in the 6th Hùng King Dynasty.
Legend has it that after defeating the enemy, he rode his horse to the base of Sóc Sơn mountain, took off his armour and rode an iron horse that took him on a heavenly flight.
To commemorate and praise the legendary hero Saint Gióng, Gióng Festival in Sóc Temple is a traditional festival held from the 6th to the 8th day of the first lunar month every year.
UNESCO recognised Việt Nam’s Gióng festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. VNS