|Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple . Photo: Vietnamtourism. com|
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.
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.
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.