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Huong Pagoda Festival

January 03, 2008          2070 views

Those who are Vietnamese people feel excited when the Chua Huong (Perfume Pagoda) Festival, the biggest and longest annual festival in Vietnam, comes. Simply because in the festival, people can not only beseech what the wish and hope but also have chances of admiring the wonderful scenery of the Huong Pagoda.

Huong PagodaHuong Pagoda

The festival is opened in My Duc district, northern Ha Tay province, on January 29, the sixth day of the first lunar month.
The Huong Pagoda Festival mainly consists of pleasant sightseeing trips to pagodas, temples and caves as well as ceremonies to beseech favours from Lord Buddha.

The Festival officially starts on February 15 (lunar year), but the Pagoda has been lively with a big number of visitors from January 15 to mid-March. Ben Duc, the river gate to the Pagoda, is crowded with boats and people. As a rule, pilgrims and visitors from all parts of the country, whether acquainted to one another or otherwise, greet everyone by saying "A Di Da Phat". These words mean, "We beg Lord Buddha to give us health and luck".
The festival, lasting through three spring months, attracts hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the country and overseas Vietnamese. Visitors wish to enjoy the matchless beauty of the Huong Son lime mountains in the time when apricot forests here blossom and to pay their tribute to Buddha, or more exactly to Avalokitasvara, one of Buddha's disciples.
A legend says that the festival is to worship a princess by the name of Dieu Thien who incarnated Avalokitasvara and attained Enlightenment there. As the princess was born on the 19th day of the second lunar month, that date is now observed by all Buddhists of Vietnam as the Buddhist Saint Day besides Buddha's birthday on the 8th day of the fourth month. The shrine in which she had practised her religion was discovered in the 15th century by three monks. However, it was not until 1687 when the Superior Bonze Tran Dao Vien Quang had come to the place that Huong Son (
Perfume Mountain) was transformed into a major Buddhist sanctuary and the greatest worshipping place of all Buddhists in Vietnam.

Pilgrims and visitors to the Huong Pagoda Festival

The festival is officially begun by what is called the ceremony to ‘open the forest’ at the Ngu Nhac temple, the first stop on the road leading to the main pagoda which lies on a high mountain. Although one may use a land road to reach the main pagoda, most pilgrims today prefer a boat trip along the stream meandering between two rows of mountains to contemplate the beauty of the scenery which can hardly be found anywhere else. Archeologists have found in several caves on the Huong Son mountain range indisputable evidences of the presence of early man.
The fairylike scenery of Huong Son has been a source of inexhaustible inspiration for many poets, writers and composers. Chu Manh Trinh, a well-known poet in the 19th century, wrote:

"Under the sky is the landscape of Buddha,
The joy of visiting Huong Son is the dream of everyone
Look! The mountains, the water, the clouds,
People wonder, is here the land of fairies?"

In the first days of the lunar new year, the festival received about 5,000-6,000 pilgrims each day.

Source: vnstyle