Spring in Vietnam is not only a beautiful season but also a season of festivals.
Besides Yen Tu, Huong pagoda festival, we must mention Giong festival, because the Lord Giong festival (or Phu Dong festival) is one of the biggest in Northern delta.
This festival re-acts about the old story about how the Lord Giong fought and defeated the aggressors An invaders. From Hanoi, people have to go through Gia Lam District on the National Route No.1 towards Bac Ninh Province and then to Duong River. Then turn right and go along the dyke for 7 kilometers. Standing on the dyke, we can see Thuong Temple, an old and grand temple.
This is the place where the Lord Giong-Phu Dong Thien Vuong is worshipped. This time is a suitable period for tourists to come to Hanoi and attend Giong festival.
So please apply Vietnam visa and join this festival.
According to some traditional records, Giong was born very strangely. His mother saw a huge footstep in the field and tried her foot on. Coming back home, she got pregnant and gave birth to the little boy named Giong.
For the first three years, he couldn’t say or smile. When the country was in danger of invasion, he asked the king to forge an iron horse, armor and a cane for him and turned into a giant. He ate up seven and three broad flat drying baskets of rice and egg-plant. Then he rode the horse and fought against the aggressors.
Finally, after got rid of the enemy, he galloped to the Soc Mountain, taking off the armor and flying into the sky. This legendary focuses on the patriotism of Vietnamese young people
The Giong Festival is held annually in Phu Dong village, Gia Lam district, Hanoi, on the 9th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. Preparation for the festival occurs from the 1st day of the 3rd month to the 5th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. The festival is celebrated from the 6th to 12th of the fourth lunar month with a series of processions, rituals and performances, each taking place on a particular day.
On the 6th, there is a ceremony of carrying water from the well at the Mother Temple to the Upper Temple. On the 7th, flags are carried to the Mother Temple. On the same day offerings of boiled rice and salted egg-plants are also carried to the Upper Temple, a practice that commemorates the agricultural meals of early times.
Another vestige of ancient times occurs at night on this day when young men and women run after one another on the dyke of the Red River. Also on the 7th day, a water puppet performance is held in front of the Phu Dong Temple.
On the 8th day, 28 women are selected to represent the generals of the An invaders.
The main day of the festival is the 9th of the fourth lunar month. On this day flags are carried from the Mother Temple to the Upper Temple and sacrifices are made to the genie. The guilds perform ritual dances and songs and there is a tiger catching show.
Fighting against the Yin invaders is re-enacted and there is a solemn march of the Van Lang army. Finally, the two battles against the invaders at Dong Dam and Soi Bia are symbolized by flag dances and victorious feasts.
On the 10th day the “troops” are reviewed and the invader-generals, after “being defeated”, give offerings to Giong. On the 11th, the ceremony of cleaning and washing weapons with holy water takes place. On the 12th, a procession goes to inspect the battlefield. On this day of the festival, tribute is given to the gods of heaven and earth.
At the Giong Festival, people can make connections with their neighborhood, with relations between the individuals within a community, and with the past and present. This festival blends together the traditions of love for the motherland and the preservation of cultural heritage.
The architecture itself shows that the temple was constructed in the XI century under the Ly Dynasty. Every year on April 9th (lunar calendar) people from all parts of the country take part in this festival. The Lord Giong festival takes place on a large-scale area of 3 kilometers including Thuong (upper) Temple, Mau (mother) Temple and Kien So Pagoda.
Among festivals in Hanoi, Giong festival can be regarded as the greatest one. It is also an opportunity for participants to witness the ritual ceremonies. People can also feel the multi-lateral relationships between village and State, individual and community, past and present, reality and unreality, heaven and earth, which are all kept up and handed down to many generations.
Travel tip shared by Lanh Nguyen