|SACRED JOURNEY: Sen Village has become a much-loved destination to visit during May. VNA/VNS Photo Tá Chuyên|
By Vân Trang and Tá Chuyên
It has become a tradition during May every year, that people from across the country and further afield flock to Sen (Lotus) Village in the hometown of beloved President Hồ Chi Minh in Kim Liên Commune, the central province of Nghệ An.
This month, the village has again become a hot spot, particularly due to a national celebration that will take place to mark President Hồ's 132nd birthday (May 19), and the country opening to tourism after two years of closure due to the pandemic.
A team of friends and colleagues, both Vietnamese and foreigners from Finest Future, an international education group in Finland, chose Sen Village special national relic site for their first-holiday summer trip.
They were among hundreds of thousands of visitors who have been and will visit the locality this month to pay tribute to President Hồ's noble soul and admire the beautiful landscape of his homeland.
Nguyễn Phương Linh, 24, a team member from Hà Nội, who has just returned to Việt Nam after several years studying abroad, said she had visited President Hồ's native village before but this was the first time in nearly five years she has returned, so she was anxious on the eve of the trip.
"I have visited President Hồ's hometown several times and learned much about his life and career through books and lessons at schools, but each time I return, a special respectful feeling overwhelms me," she said.
"Directly witnessing and hearing stories about him right in his homeland and in the house where he lived during his childhood is absolutely thrilling."
She visited Sen Village on International Labour Day (May 1) when the weather was rainy, but still enjoyed it and was impressed with the local tourism services.
She said she had young Vietnamese friends who were trying to follow President Hồ's advice, regarding him as an icon of courage, diligence and kindness.
Tuomas Tiilikainen, 30, a Finnish businessman and co-founder of Finest Future Vietnam, was amazed to visit the village and hear stories of the great man's life.
"To be honest, I learnt a lot about President Hồ when I was at school in Finland. Many great things he did for Việt Nam were mentioned and impressed me. This time, it is an honour for me to see the place where he was born and how he grew up," Toumas said.
He said part of the reason he chose to visit the village was that one of his colleagues, the other co-founder of Finest Future Finland, was also from Nghệ An.
"To be here, I have had a chance to know more about the place that has raised such exceptional people who are fearless, strong and hardworking," he added.
While at President Hồ's childhood residential house and learning more about his neighbourhood, Toumas said he was surprised but understood the simple idyllic living style of such a great person who would go on to become the much-revered leader of the country.
|NATIONAL SYMBOL: Lotus flower is grown in ponds around President Hồ's native village. It is seen as representing simple and noble character. Photo baonghean.vn|
Sen Village, about 15km from Vinh City, has many travel agencies and tourists and is seen as a tranquil, peaceful, poetic place with green bamboos, a public well, and temple grounds where festivals or special occasions often take place.
The village landscape is adorned by numerous mountains hidden far away in wispy clouds and blue sky, as well as many beautiful lotus ponds.
The beauty of lotus
The lotus flower has represented President Hồ’s image for a long time, symbolising the beauty of his ordinary yet noble character.
The flower is grown in many areas of Kim Liên relic site, blooming especially in May, making the landscape fill with a natural fragrance and the air fresher on hot summer days.
"Lotus is actually grown in many localities across the country but leaves a special impression when blooming in President Hồ's native village. It leaves you overflowing with extraordinary emotion," said Phạm Hương Lan, a visitor from HCM City.
“The flower symbolises both simple and noble features, as was the nature of President Hồ Chí Minh. It also reflects his noble soul, sincerity and morality as well as the spirit of Vietnamese people's solidarity.”
Coming to this village, tourists must visit the house where he grew up before travelling abroad and eventually freeing Việt Nam from colonisation.
It has been preserved with, almost, the original structure and design, and all the simple objects of a Confucian family are here, such as traditional brushes or ink boxes, bamboo mats, trays and rice mortars.
As the number of visitors to Kim Liên is so large, the site's management board works hard to ensure order and safety.
Authority officials have strengthened instructions for people to strictly follow the relic preservation regulations and maintain a solemn atmosphere while visiting.
Bùi Bích Đảm, the head of the communication and education department of the Kim Liên special national relic site, said that a huge number of tourists arrived at the site on the national holidays of April 30 and May 1, despite the rain.
|PAYING RESPECTS: Visitors burn incense at President Hồ's altar at the Memorial House in the Kim Liên special national relic site. VNA/VNS Photo Tá Chuyên|
The site authority has also set up a plan to mobilise all its personnel including tourist guides, officials and staff to be on duty during holidays and weekends providing the best services for tourists, particularly for the 132nd birthday of President Hồ.
On the first two days of the national holidays, the Kim Liên special national relic site, including the president's mother Hòang Thị Loan's grave and his grandparents' villages, welcomed more than 1,800 groups with a total of about 40,000 Vietnamese and foreign tourists.
Visiting President Hồ Chi Minh's hometown is something of a sacred journey both for what it means to the country and for its profound natural beauty. It's a trip that is not to be missed. VNS
|It has become a tradition during May every year, that people from across the country and further afield flock to Sen (Lotus) Village in the hometown of beloved President Hồ Chi Minh. Photo dbndnghean.vn|