The main festival day commemorating the death anniversary of the Hùng Vương (Hùng Kings), considered the founders of Việt Nam, began yesterday with an incense offering ceremony at the main temple complex in the northern province of Phú Thọ.
One hundred young men representing Lạc Long Quân’s and Âu Cơ’s 100 children in ancient costumes, hold their flags up high, expressing the vitality of the offspring of the fairy and dragon. According to legend, mother fairy Âu Cơ gave birth to a pouch filled with 100 eggs, which soon hatched into 100 beautiful children. It’s believed that these 100 sons are the ancestors of all Vietnamese people. In Phú Thọ Province, the Hùng Temple is where people celebrate the lineage of the Hùng Kings – all descendants of Lạc Long Quân and Âu Cơ. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
At 6am on Wednesday morning, the 10th day of the third lunar month, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc – along with representatives from the Party, State and Government, as well as people from across the country – started the pilgrimage at the central square at the foot of Mount Nghĩa Lĩnh and made their way up to the Đền Thượng (High Temple) at the top of the mountain.
A unit of the national guard carrying the national flag, the festival flag and a large wreath with the letters “Eternally remembering the Hùng Kings’ founding of the nation", led the pilgrimage, followed by a group of young women in red traditional áo dài carrying flowers and offerings to the late kings along with 100 young men in ancient-style clothing representing 100 descendants of the Âu Cơ, a mountain fairy, and Lạc Long Quân, a sea dragon lord, who make up the creation myth of Vietnamese people.
Legend has it that the eldest son of Lạc Long Quân and Âu Cơ was made king. He named the country Văn Lang and set up the capital in Phong Châu (modern-day Việt Trì City), beginning 18 dynasties of Hùng Kings.
Chairman of the Phú Thọ Province People’s Committee Bùi Văn Quang, in his role as head of the ceremony this year, read a speech to commemorate the Hùng Kings, stressing the importance of the death anniversary, praising the merits of the kings and of Âu Cơ and Lạc Long Quân and extolling the perseverance of the ancestors in maintaining the integrity of the country’s sovereignty.
Quang also reported to the spirits of the kings on the major achievements the country has made in đổi mới (reforms), international integration, and socio-economic development.
The Phú Thọ official prayed for the legendary ancestors to send good weather, repel diseases – especially the COVID-19 pandemic, and bring about wealth and happiness for Vietnamese people near and far.
The speech also contained pledges to build a strong and prosperous country and to maintain peace and friendship with all humanity.
State President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (centre) offers incense at the High Temple. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
After offering incense at the High Temple, President Phúc and delegates laid floral tributes at the Hùng Kings Temple, and at the mural 'Uncle Hồ talking with the vanguard units' at the crossroad area adjacent to Giếng Temple.
The ceremony and related activities were held with COVID-19 precautions in place, though crowds of people proved hard to control and resulted in congestion around the highest temple.
The worship of the Hùng Kings was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
The kings chose Nghĩa Lĩnh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for healthy crops.
To honour their contributions to the nation, a complex of temples dedicated to the kings was built on Nghĩa Lĩnh Mountain, and the tenth day of the third lunar month serves as the national commemorative anniversary for the kings.
An estimated 20,000 Vietnamese from all corners of the country arrived in Phú Thọ to pay their tributes in the morning
A procession in HCM City's temple dedicated to Hùng Kings on the campus of the National History-Culture Park. — VNA/VNS Photo
Some 1,000 security personnel were deployed to maintain order at the complex and divert visitors from overwhelmed areas to other monuments, museums and temple at the site.
Many localities in the country, including HCM City, Cần Thơ and Đà Lạt, also held ceremonies to pay their respects to the legendary founders.
The festival ends on Thursday.