A festival celebrating Viet Nam’s ancient leaders…
What is the Hùng Kings’ Festival?
The Hùng Kings’ Temple Festival honours the Hùng Kings, and is held annually during the third lunar month. The main festival is celebrated on the 10th day, Wednesday 25th April in 2018. The festival’s offical name is ‘Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings’, but the date does not mark any specific King’s passing. The purpose of this ceremony is to remember and pay tribute to the contribution of the Hung Kings who are the traditional founders of the nation and became its first emperors. Beginning as a local holiday, the Ceremony was recognized as a national holiday in 2007. The worship of the Hùng Kings in Phú Thọ was recognised in 2012 on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Who are the Hùng Kings?
The first Hùng King was Kinh Dương Vương, who first came to power in 2879 BC. He successfully consolidated all the tribes and communities within his territory into a unified nation.This area is regarded as the first nation of the Vietnamese people and covered what is now North Vietnam and part of southern China. He is regarded as the ancestor of the Hùng Kings, as the founding father of Vietnam, and as a Vietnamese cultural hero. From then on, future rulers in the Hồng Bàng Dynasty were all referred to by the name ‘Hung King’. Ruling over Vietnam for 18 generations, the Hung Kings taught locals how to cultivate rice. Nghia Linh, the highest mountain in the region was chosen to to pray for good harvests and perform rituals for rice and sun deities .
How is the festival celebrated?
Each year at over 1,400 Hùng Kings temples across Vietnam, offerings are held simultaneously. The main ceremony takes place at the Hung Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province, northwest of Ha Noi. It is very popular with visitors coming from across Northern Viet Nam. A procession travels from the foot of the mountain, stopping at every temple on the ascent before pilgrims offer prayers and incense to the Hung Kings when they reach the final Hung Temple.
In Ho Chi Minh City a series of cultural and entertainment activities and art performance shows will be organised to commemorate the festival. A ceremony will take place at the Hung Kings Memorial site (in the National Historical and Cultural Park in District 9) on April 25. The ceremony will featuring traditional processions, and incense and flower offerings. Art and traditional martial art performances, dragon dances and drum performance will take place at the site on April 24-25.