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Giong Festival at Phu Dong and Soc temples

February 13, 2016          2441 views
(Cinet)- The Giong Festival is one of very famous traditional festivals of Vietnam. It is held in spring time from 06-08  of the 1st Lunar month to commemorate and praise mythical hero Saint Giong, who has considered as one of the four immortals in Vietnamese folk beliefs.
 
Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple . Photo: Vietnamtourism. com
The Giong Festival is celebrated in many locations throughout the northern part of Vietnam, however the most well-known are the Giong Festival at Phu Dong and Soc Temples in Hanoi.
Giong Festival at Soc Temple
Giong Festival at Soc Temple (Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Ha Noi) is held annually from the sixth to the eighth days of the first lunar month.  According to the legend, after defeating the foreign invaders, Soc Mountain in Phu Linh is the last stopover of the saint before flying to heaven. There are many traditional rituals during the festival such as procession ceremony, incense offering ceremony, the ritual of bathing saint’s statue and bamboo flowers offering ceremony to the Thuong (Upper) Temple where is dedicated to the Saint Giong. 
To prepare for the festival, at the fifth day night, people from eight villages of six communes in Soc Son District have carefully prepared offerings to the saint. On the sixth day - the opening festival day - villagers and pilgrims make incense offering to the Saint Giong Monument on Mount Da Chong. And at midnight of the same day, there is the bathing ritual of Saint Giong’s statue.
On the main festival day, the seventh day which was the saint’s ascending to heaven day according to the legend, there is a procession of bamboo flowers to the Thuong Temple as offerings to the saint. The bamboo flowers are made of a bamboo pieces that are sharpened into flowers and dyed with various colors. The worshipped saint embodies the aspiration for a peaceful country, harmonious rain and wind, and abundant harvest. 
During the festival, there are other traditional games such as Chinese chess, human chess, cock fighting... and art performances of villagers as traditional opera (cheo), love duet (quan ho).
Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple 
The Giong Festival at the Phu Dong Temple is held annually from the sixth to the twelfth days of the fourth lunar month in the village of Saint Giong’s birth in Phu Dong Commune, Gia Lam District, Ha Noi. 
From the sixth to eighth days, there are ceremonies of carrying flags to Mau (Mother) Temple where is dedicated to the Saint Giong’s mother and carrying offerings of boiled rice and salted egg-plants to Thuong (Upper) Temple where is dedicated to the Saint Giong. 
The main day of the festival is the ninth of the fourth lunar month. On this day flags are carried from the Mau Temple to the Thuong Temple to sacrifice to the saint. In addition, fighting against the Yin invaders is re-enacted. The battle is elaborately arranged with the roles of Masters (Ong Hieu) such as the Flag Master, the Drum Master, the Gong Master, the Army Master, and the Children Master – the generals of Saint Giong troop which are played by young men and 28 girls play the enemy generals. 
On the tenth day, there are ceremonies of inspecting battlefield and giving offerings to the Saint Giong. On the eleventh day, the ceremony of cleaning and washing weapons with holy water takes place. On the twelfth day, a flag procession goes to announce the victorious news to heaven and earth. There are also ceremony of giving a feast to the troop and cheo performances celebrating the victory.
It was among 46 candidates from 29 nations that UNESCO recognised as expressions of intangible cultural heritage in 2010, after considering 113 dossiers submitted by 32 member nations.

Source: vietnamtourism.com,
 
 

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