Phu Tho Province
Located in the Plains and Midland in the North of Vietnam. Phu Tho has a monsoon tropical climate. Viet Tri City, provincial capital, is 90km from Hanoi. It is on National Highway No.2 linking Hanoi with Ha Giang Province and China Border. The train from Hanoi to Lao Cai stops in Viet Tri. Phu Tho is consider as ancestral land of Vietnam. Den Hung (Hung Temple)Remains is tied to the legend about 18 Kings Hung who built Van Lang State, the first one of Vietnam, with Phong Chau as the capital. With a bright culture, Phu Tho is home of many festivals.
Phu Tho Highlights
++ Kings Hung Temple
Location: Located on Nghia Linh Mountain, 175 meters by sea level, Viet Tri City, Phu Tho Province.
Characteristic: Kings Hung Temple is a complex of majestic architectures that consist of Ha Temple and Thien Quang Pagoda, Gieng Temple, Trung and Thuong temples, and King Hung Tomb.
Ha Temple: 225 brick steps lie between Dai Mon Gate and Ha Temple, which was built in the 15th century. According to the legend, in this place, Au Co gave birth to a pouch containing 100 eggs, which later hatched to become 100 children. Her husband, Lac Long Quan, led 50 children down to the coastal region to populate the land and propagate the race. Au Co brought 49 children up to the mountainous area. The eldest child, Hung Vuong, was left to become King; he founded the capital in Phong Chau and named the country Van Lang.
In front of the Ha Temple, there is a 700-year-old tree. It is in this temple where late President Ho Chi Minh had a talk with the soldiers on their way to Hanoi in 1954. He told them "The Hung Kings had the merit of founding the country. You and I must stick together to safeguard it.Trung Temple: Over 168 brick steps must then be climbed to get to TrungTemple. According to legends, the Kings Hung built the house as a place to rest and hold political meetings. It is also where Prince Lang Lieu presented sticky rice cakes (Banh chung and banh day) to his father the King on the occasion of Tet Holiday.
Thuong Temple: Over 102 brick steps from Trung Temple to get to Thuong Temple, where exclusively used for the kings to have offerings to the Sun God, the Earth God, the Rice God, and Saint Dong, a legendary hero, defeated the An invaders of the ancient Chinese Dynasty. This is also the place where King Hung, the 18th, abdicated in favor of Thuc Phan, who erected a stone pillar and swore to take care of the temple and of the Hung family’s inheritance.
King Hung Tomb: It was the tomb of the 6th King Hung. Legend has it that, after defeating the An invaders, the 6th King Hung took off his clothes and left it on the branch of the kim giao tree and died on the spot.
Gieng Temple (Well Temple): At the foot of the mountain is the Gieng Temple, where worshipped Ngoc Hoa and Tien Dung, the 18th Hung King’s daughters. It is said that the two princesses used to comb their hair and look at themselves in the water of this well.
Nowadays, the nearby public reception house, Cong Quan, houses the Kings Hung Museum, built to present numerous artifacts from the dawn of the nation when the Kings Hung founded and ruled the country.
++ Hung Temple Festival
Time: The 8th to the 11th day of the third lunar month, main festival day on the 10th day of the third lunar month.
Place: Nghia Linh Mountain, Hy Cuong Commune, Viet Tri City, Phu Tho Province.
Objects of worship: Kings Hung.
Characteristics: This is the ancestorsdeath anniversary of the whole nation. At the same time with incense-offering ceremony at Hung Temple in Phu Tho Province, sacrifice-offering ceremonies at Hung Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and other provinces are aslo celebrated.
Legend: 18 generations of Kings Hung established Van Lang State, the predecessor of the present - day Vietnam.
++ Main activities:
The procession of 3 local communes from the communal houses to the foot of the mountain.
The incense offering ceremony.
Xoan singing, bronze drum dancing
++ The festival Week
The festival begins with a palanquin procession performed by three villages of Co Tich, Vi Cuong and Trieu Phu. The procession carries bamboo elephants and wooden horses symbolizing the submission of animals to the Kings Hung and the wedding of the Mountain Genie and Princess Ngoc Hoa. Banh chung (square sticky rice cake) and banh giay (round sticky rice cake) are indispensable offerings in the procession in order to honour the merit of the Kings Hung who taught people to plant rice and to remind people of Lang Lieu who invented these cakes.
The worship service is held on the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month and commences with a flower ceremony with the participation of state representatives. Held in Thuong Temple, where the Kings Hung used to worship deities with full rituals, the ceremony is conducted with the traditional rituals representing the whole nation. During that time, the nha to Do Ngai guild performs singing and dancing to welcome visitors.
The children of the Kings Hung throughout the country converge on the temple to offer incense. The procession includes the state representatives, one hundred young men and women in traditional costumes symbolizing children of the Dragon and Fairy and pilgrims.
The procession marches are followed by a Xoan singing performance (a kind of folk song of Vinh - Phu region) in Thuong Temple, ca tru (a kind of classical opera) in Ha Temple, and other activities including bamboo swings, nem con (throwing a sacred ball through the ring), cham thau (beating bronze drum), dam duong (pounding rice).
Hung Temple Festival not only attracts visitors from all over the country because of its special traditional cultural activities, but it is also a sacred trip back in time to the origins of the Vietnamese nation. People usually show their love and pride of their homeland and ancestral land. This religious belief deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen, regardless of where they originate.
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