Viet Nam News
LẠNG SƠN — Thousands of pilgrims and tourists flocked to the Temple of Mother Goddess in the northern mountainous province of Lạng Sơn on Thursday to attend a festival dedicated to the Mother Goddess. Among the tourists, hundreds were from China.
One of the province’s largest festivals, the old temple stands on a mountain near Đồng Đăng Market in the Đồng Đăng border town, where, 40 years ago, on February 17, 1979, 600,000 Chinese invaders flooded across the Vietnamese border, killing thousands of civilians including women and children. The town of Đồng Đăng was lost on the first day of the attack, but the city’s fortress resisted for five days and was only captured after artillery bombardment.
In contrast to the death and destruction four decades ago, devotees gathered to pray for peace and prosperity as well as to enjoy the festive atmosphere. All roads leading to the temple were packed with cars and motorbikes.
Mother Goddess worship is a local religion with influence from Taoism. Vietnamese worship the Mother Goddesses of three realms: heaven, water, and mountains and forests. The supreme Mother Goddess bears the reproductive, protective and safeguarding power for people. The supreme God carries the gentle face of a mother, who found her escape from feudal restrictions against women.
Holy place: Đồng Đăng Temple of Mother Goddess is a famous temple built to worship Buddha and Bán Thiên Mother Goddess. — Photo baomoi.vn
Recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2017, the practice of Đạo Mẫu shares values and beliefs in the compassion and grace of the Mother Goddesses. It provides a foundation for social relations connecting members of participating communities and raises public awareness of women’s roles in society.
Several religious and cultural activities were held during the festival. Tourists had the chance to watch a lion dance, martial arts demonstrations, traditional games and art performances.
About 4km from the Hữu Nghị Border Checkpoint, the Đồng Đăng Temple of Mother Goddess, or Đồng Đăng Linh Tự (which literally means Đồng Đăng’s Holy Temple), was built to worship Buddha and Bán Thiên Mother Goddess.
To prevent accidental fires, the temple’s management board has banned people from burning incense inside the venue. — VNS