The Vietnamese have long had a tradition of patriotism and remembrance of their roots, with numerous festivals and anniversaries all reflecting that. In particular, Hung King Festival has long been a great matter, to honor the merits of the first kings for building and defending the country. The worship of Hung Kings was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage on December 6, 2012.
I - When does the Hung King Temple Festival take place?
This important festival is annually held on the 10th day of the third lunar month at Hung Temple Complex located in Hung Mountain, Co Tich Hamlet, Hy Cuong Commune, Viet Tri City, Phu Tho Province - about 10km from Viet Tri City Center and 80km from Hanoi City Center. From Hanoi City Center, it takes about 3 hours and costs from 60,000 VND / person ($2.6) to get to Hung King Temple.
Due to Covid-19, Hung King's Commemoration Day 2022 is not held on a large scale, but only at the provincial level, lasting for 5 days from April 6 to the end of April 10 in the Solar calendar. There is still no clear plan for the Hung King Temple Festival in the next 2 years because it depends on the pandemic situation of the country, but March 10 of the lunar calendar will fall on April 29, 2023, and April 18, 2024, in the Solar calendar.
On every occasion of the Hung King Festival in Vietnam, people come to Hung Temple, not only Vietnamese people in the country but also overseas, international leaders,... The festival takes place not only in one but many days, filled and colorful with festive activities and exciting, diverse performances, bustling with thousands of people. It consists of 2 parts: the Ceremony and the Festival. The Ceremony is conducted with a solemn offering at the Thuong Temple, and the Festival is held with many traditional activities imbued with national cultural identity.
The Hung King Temple Festival is annually held - Source: vneconomy.vn
Early on the 10th day of the third lunar month morning, the delegations arrived, neatly following the palanquin in the traditional music to the Thuong Temple. The head of the province, the head of state, or the leader of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (depending on the year) will respectfully give the speech.
After the solemn ceremony, the festival was held jubilantly, creating vivid colors. There are many shops selling souvenirs, cultural products, food, as well as cultural camps, cultural performances, sports competitions… You can participate in Vietnamese folk games such as wrestling, crossbow shooting, and contests of wrapping and cooking Banh Chung,... Vietnamese traditional music performances such as Cheo singing, Quan ho singing, Xoan singing, and mass cultural performances are also attractive activities you shouldn’t miss.
II - The 8 places to visit at the Hung King Temple Festival
The main temple - Source: vov
In addition to participating in unique activities at Hung King Festival, you can set foot in several important architectures in the Hung King Temple Complex such as Ha Temple & Thien Quang Pagoda, Trung Temple & Thuong Temple, Gieng Temple,... You have to leave your personal vehicle and climb a lot. From the three-entrance gate of this relic, you can go by tram to the main temple gate, at the price of 10,000 - 50,000 VND / person ($0.43 - 2.15)
1 - Ha Temple and Thien Quang Pagoda
Following the stone steps, you first go to Ha Temple, built in the 17th - 18th centuries. Legend has it that this is where foremother Au Co gave birth to hundreds of eggs, which later hatched into hundreds of children, originating for Hung Kings and the Vietnamese nation. Located to the right of Ha Temple is Thien Quang Pagoda, built in the 13th century. The remaining architecture today is supported by pillars connected to the curved roof, all the structure is beautifully carved with the image of dragons adorning the moon.
2 - Trung Temple and Thuong Temple in the complex of Hung King Temple
Joining the Hung King Temple Festival, you should not miss Trung Temple, also known as Hung Vuong To Temple, built in the Ly - Tran dynasties and destroyed by the Ming invaders in the 15th century. The reconstructed architecture has 3 compartments, extremely simple. Said to be the place where the Hung King and the mandarins discuss the country, this is also where the 6th Hung King ceded the throne to Lang Lieu, who invented Banh Chung and Banh Giay - 2 famous traditional Vietnamese foods. Thuong Temple, located on the top of Nghia Linh mountain, is built to be the largest temple with 3 levels of houses, worshiping the elaborately carved altars.
3 - Visiting Gieng Temple on the occasion of the Hung King Temple Festival
Going to the foot of Nghia Linh Mountain, looking on the left side, you see the Gieng Temple, built in the 18th century, with the prominent feature being the ancient well that is always clear and never runs dry. According to folklore, this temple was built to pay tribute to the two daughters of the 18th Hung King - Princesses Tien Dung and Ngoc Hoa, who taught the people to grow rice and control the water.
4 - Au Co Temple
Going to the top of Van Mountain is To Mau Au Co Temple, which is an architectural complex including the main temple and other shrines, designed in a traditional style mixed with modernity. The temple is built with red rustic bricks, with wooden pillars on a stone pedestal and the roof curved like a Lac bird’s wings, along with motifs similar to those on Dong Son bronze drums.
5 - Lac Long Quan Temple
Many people visit this temple on the occasion of the Hung King Temple Festival - Source: wikipedia
Built on Sim Hill, Lac Long Quan Temple is located to the southwest and has traditional ironwood architecture, a red brick wall, and roof tiled nose. In the temple, there is a statue of Lac Long Quan and numerous other bronze statues of Lac Generals and Leaders.
6 - Hung Vuong Museum
Built-in 1986, the museum opened to visitors in 1993, designed by the Vietnam Association of Architects, based on the legend of Chung cake and Giay cake. It is home to more than 700 artifacts, 102 photos, different paintings in glazed ceramic, lacquer, bronze mound,… a group of bronze statues, and many auxiliary artifacts.
III - More to know: Why is the Hung King Temple Festival so important?
According to the legend of “the children of the dragon and fairy”, the ancestors of the Vietnamese people are Lac Long Quan - son of a dragon, and Au Co - a fairy. Forefather Lac Long Quan married the foremother Au Co, giving birth to 100 children. Half of them followed their father to the sea, the other half followed their mother to the mountain, and the eldest son became king, officially taking the name Hung. Many people often think that the Hung King Festival is to refer to him, but it is actually related to an even more ancient history dating back to 2879 BC.
As the founder of the Hồng Bàng Dynasty, King Kinh Duong (Kinh Duong Vuong) married Long Nu (daughter of the Dragon) and gave birth to Lac Long Quan. The first son of Lac Long Quan then became the1st Hung King. These are the founding fathers of the country, so the Hung King Temple Festival is also to commemorate them - the Ancestors of the Lac Hong race, currently Vietnamese.
According to some remaining documents, the Hung Kings Commemoration Day with its primitive form appeared very early in history, at least more than 2,000 years ago. Throughout Vietnamese history, many famous kings of Vietnam's feudal dynasties right from the time they ascended the throne have affirmed the great role of the Hung Kings and maintained the Hung Temple festival. The 10th of March (lunar calendar) was designated as the National Anniversary in 1917, during the Nguyen Dynasty, and has been officially recognized as a national holiday since the August revolution (1945).
The Hung King Festival in Vietnam is also called the Death anniversary of the Ancestral - that's right, not the date of birth or the date of the enthronement of the King. The reason is that the day the Ancestral King died was the day on which the Nation king ascended the throne, and inaugurated a new dynasty - the new history began. The Hung King Temple Festival is an important day for the nation when everyone, wherever they are, still remembers to show their gratitude to the ancestors who have built and defended the country.
That’s why the selected date has also been carefully considered and researched and the 10th day of the third lunar month was chosen and not any other day. The number 3 indicates Earth and the number 10 indicates Sky, while lunar March is the month of the dragon, symbolizing the king and the leader. At the same time, the number 10 and number 3 are based on 2 systems of the Gan-Zhi Sexagenary Cycle, clearly meaning the “death anniversary of the King”.
The Hung King Temple Festival is annually held on the 10th day of the third lunar month and is an extremely important festival in Vietnam, which has entered the hearts of every citizen from generation to generation. For thousands of years, on every festival occasion, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people flock to Hung Temple to express their gratitude to their ancestors and remember their roots.