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Hung King Festival in Vietnam

By Thao Nguyen

Every year since 2007, the Vietnamese have been celebrating Hung Kings Commemorations holiday. The purpose of this traditional holiday to pay tribute to the work of Hung Kings, who are believed to be the ancestors of Vietnamese, in creating the nation. The ceremony is held yearly on the 10th day of the third lunar month at Hung Temple, City of Viet Tri, Phu Tho province. However, the holiday isn’t only celebrated in Vietnam, it is also celebrated by Vietnamese living in foreign countries around the world as well.

The ceremony dates back to when Vietnam was ruled by the monarchy governments in 40 A.D. Today, the government gives the responsibility of holding and organizing the ceremony to the people living in the region in exchange for reduced taxes. In 2007, the festival was brought back. There are many activities during the holidays; most take place in Hung Temple. First, people from surrounding villages dressed in the costume of the region compete to win the best display of costume. The winner will provide the valued objects of worship for the festival primary rite.

People from many different communities/cities make offerings of rice-based delicacies but the most important one is the square cake as it is one of the oldest food in Vietnam. There are also folk art performances, drum beating, singing.

This year the holiday will fall on Thursday, April 6. During this upcoming holiday, four provinces will be the main organizer of the holiday: Ha Noi, Thai Binh, Binh Phuong and Ben Tre. The main activities are: consecrating offerings to the Kings, Square cake competition, folk art performances, traditional sports competitions, and a water puppet show. Folk art performance includes Xoan singing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FGQz2dpUyA), Gheo Singing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3yrvgjzlLY) along with other traditional instrumental performances. Normally, Chinese chess, wrestling, rod pushing and crossbow shooting are the main competitions in the traditional sports section. Water puppetry, which is the art of making puppets dance on water, is a tradition that dates back to the 11th century and originated from villages of the Red River Delta.

 

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