HÀ NỘI Historians have been discussing the idea of a festival to be held annually in the ancient citadel of Cổ Loa on the outskirts of Hà Nội dedicated to King Ngô Quyền, the first king of the country who helped gain independence from Chinese invaders in 938 after over 1,000 years of foreign rule.
They were attending a workshop in the capital on October 3.
History professor Lê Văn Lan proposed there should be an annual local festival hosted by Đông Anh District and another national event hosted by Hà Nội every five years.
According to the professor, the king deserved to be remembered and the events would help remind people of the historic figure and what he accomplished.
Participants suggested holding the festival on the 7th day of the first lunar month, a day after the present Cổ Loa Festival.
Some said the plan would be difficult to implement as there was no temple dedicated to King Ngô Quyền at Cổ Loa Citadel, so a proposal to build such a temple should be submitted to Hà Nội authorities.
Researcher Phạm Quốc Quân, a member of the National Culture Heritage Council, suggested that while waiting for the temple to be built, there should be a ceremony honoring the king every year so that locals could get used to the custom and prepare for the national festival.
Participants also looked at how to involve the local community in hosting the event, rather than following a script.
“If the local community plays an active role the festival will live on and be handed down through the generations,” said Prof Lan.
Experts suggested connecting local people with other communities that already host festivals dedicated to Ngô Quyền around the country.
Nguyễn Văn Nhân, an official from Cổ Loa Commune, said the 7th day of the first lunar month was not a good time as locals celebrated the Cổ Loa Festival just a day before.
“We should hold the event later than the existing festival bu still in the first lunar month,” he said. “Historic documents record that King Ngô Quyền came onto the throne in spring. We should organise the ceremony later in spring to attract more tourists throughout the country.”
Other attendees suggested organising the ceremony at the nearby Ngự Triều Di Quy communal house while waiting for the temple to be built.
Participants also discussed how to make the ceremony different from existing spring festivals.
“The ceremony will be held right after the Cổ Loa Festival, so we should think about how to make it stand out from existing events,” said researcher Lê Hồng Lý from the Việt Nam Social Sciences Academy.
He also suggested consulting other localities that host ceremonies dedicated to historic figures.
“We need to learn from other localities like Hoa Lư District in Ninh Bình Province which hosts a festival at King Đing Tiên Hoàng Temple, and the festival at Lê Lơi Temple in Thường Xuân District, Thanh Hóa Province,” he said.
Historians are planning further discussions about how to move the project forward.
Ngô Quyền (898-944), also known as Tiền Ngô Vương, was the first king of the Ngô Dynasty. In 938, he led the army to fight Chinese invaders on Bạch Đằng River in today’s Quảng Ninh Province, and his victory ended nearly 1,000 years of foreign rule and opened an era of independence for Việt Nam. After the victory, he took the throne and established the Ngô Dynasty, ruling between 939 and 944.
Ngô Quyền has been listed among 14 national heroes and named “the king leading kings” in various historical documents. VNS