|Food offerings: Various art and sport activities including the offering of banh chung (square sticky rice cake) will be held during the annual Hung Temple Festival celebrated from April 23-28 in Phu Tho Province. — Photo disanxanh.vn
PHU THO (VNS) — An estimated 6-7 million people are expected to turn out for this year's Hung Kings' Festival, which will run from April 23-28 at Hung Vuong Square in Viet Tri City, Phu Tho Province.
"The authorities will do their best to help locals and tourists enjoy the festival," said Ha Ke San, vice chairman of the Provincial People's Committee. He added that a wide and diverse range of folk cultural activities and events had been planned.
The festival will open with an art performance that will be aired on Viet Nam Television's VTV1 channel at 8pm on Saturday. It will also include a spectacular fireworks display at the closing ceremony.
Other events include worshipping the founder of the nation and making ritual offerings.
Food contests have also been planned for the festival, which has been organised by Phu Tho in collaboration with Son La, Phu Yen, Dak Nong, Tien Giang and Bac Lieu provinces. A travel promotion fair will be held at the site featuring 70 booths displaying the tourism potential of eight provinces in the north-west region.
Various sporting and cultural activities, including tennis and volleyball tournaments and art shows, will also be held.
San said the province was preparing to ask UNESCO to remove hat xoan (local spring folk singing) from the intangible heritage in need of urgent protection. This is because of the success of the revival movement over the past four years.
There will be various xoan singing activities during the festival, including community performances and performances by artists from villages where the folk art originated. A separate festival for youth singing will also be held during the festival.
San said the organising board would fine hotels and restaurants that raised prices.
The organisers have also set up hotlines (0210.3860026 or 0210.6551666) that will operate 24 hours a day during the festival for use by visitors in case of emergency.
A set of three stamps featuring the Hung kings will be issued today.
The Hung Kings' Festival is held annually from the eight to the eleventh days of the third lunar month in honour of the founders of the nation. The main festival day, which has been a public holiday in Viet Nam since 2007, is on the tenth day, which falls on April 28 this year.
King Hung is the title given to the ancient Vietnamese rulers of the Hong Bang period (2879–258 BC). They were kings of Van Lang.
The first Hung king, Kinh Duong Vuong, came to power in 2879 BC, ruling an area covering what is now North Viet Nam and Yunan in what is now part of southern China. He founded the Hong Bang dynasty, whose members ruled Viet Nam until 258 BC.
The second reign of Hung kings was founded by Lac Long Quan, son of Kinh Duong Vuong.
The descendants took the title of Hung Vuong after the first king, and many Vietnamese folktales mention them. Stories tell of the heroics of 18 different ruling periods of Hung Kings (one explains the introduction of the watermelon with the help of Hung Vuong the Tenth).
Although the official name of the festival is the Anniversary of the death of the Hung Kings, the date is traditional and does not mark any specific death date. — VNS