|Paying tribute: The Gióng festival is being celebrated at Sóc Temple in Sóc Sơn District on the outskirts of Hà Nội to pay tribute to Phù Đổng Thiên Vương, a mythical folk hero of Việt Nam’s history and one of The Four Immortals. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyết
HÀ NỘI — One of Việt Nam’s longest festivals, the Hương (Perfume) Pagoda festival, kicked off Wednesday – the sixth day of the first lunar month – in Hương Sơn Commune, Mỹ Đức District, on the outskirts of Hà Nội.
The opening day of the festival this year was expected to attract around 50,000 tourists and pilgrims nationwide.
According to Nguyễn Văn Hậu, the vice chairman of Mỹ Đức District’s People’s Committee and also the head of the organisation department, this year’s festival has been thoroughly prepared, particularly after the Hương pagoda complex was officially recognised as a National Special Relic by the Prime Minister this year.
He also added that boats with engines are still prohibited on the Yến Stream, except for those of special forces on duty like police, forest wardens or medical staff.
Around 4,500 boats, which have been numbered for better management, have been painted blue. The festival has also been provided with more dustbins and lifejackets to ensure the safety of tourists and protection of the environment.
|Procession: People partake in the Bái Đính Pagoda festival which kicked off yesterday in the northern province of Ninh Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo Ninh Đức Phương
Hương Pagoda Festival attracted approximately 1.5 million visitors last year, yielding roughly VNĐ20 billion (US$881,000) from ticket sales, said Hậu.
“The organisation department will perform better, offering more professional services and ensuring security to attract more tourists,” he added.
The price of admission to the pagoda has remained unchanged at VNĐ80,000, including boat transportation on the Yến Stream.
|Starting the year: The most anticipated spring festival in northern Việt Nam, the Hương (Perfume) Pagoda has officially opened in Hương Sơn Commune, Mỹ Đức District on the outskirts of Hà Nội, attracting tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims nationwide. — VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung