|Hương (Perfume) Pagoda festival. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt|
HÀ NỘI — Many spring festivals in the capital city of Hà Nội will be halted for the second straight year due to complicated COVID-19 developments.
Incense offering rituals will be held on a small scale.
Authorities of Mỹ Đức District, which is home to Hương (Perfume) Pagoda, want to welcome back visitors. However, up to now, no concrete plan has been made. The People's Committee of Mỹ Đức District is studying various plans to reopen depending on the level of the pandemic in the region.
The pagoda stopped receiving visitors last May due to the pandemic.
Hương Pagoda, located in Hương Sơn Commune of Mỹ Đức, consists of a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built on the limestone Hương Tích mountains.
Every year, the site hosts a large number of pilgrims from all over the country. The festival starts from the 6th day of the lunar year, while the peak falls between the 15th day of the first lunar month to the 18th day of the second lunar month. Yet the spectacular landscape draws tourists also throughout the year.
Spring festivals in Sóc Sơn District are also suspended and only small incense offering ceremonies are held. Its communes and townships are asked to bolster inspections of cultural, sporting and tourism activities in celebration of the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.
Inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the three-day Gióng festival of Phù Đổng and Sóc temples in Sóc Sơn is celebrated annually, starting on the sixth day of the lunar year and attracting thousands of visitors.
Other major events, particularly the Cổ Loa, Hai Bà Trưng and Tản Viên Sơn Thần (Tản Viên Mountain Saint) festivals in Hà Nội’s outlying districts of Đông Anh, Mê Linh and Ba Vì will also be put on hold.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has ordered stepping up preventive measures to ensure safety during the 2022 Tết festival, asking units and localities to halt the organisation of festivals and firework displays on the occasion.
At present, Hà Nội is leading the country in terms of new daily cases with roughly 3,000 new infections a day, despite very high vaccination rate in population aged 12 years and older.
About 600 COVID-19 patients are in serious condition. VNS