The ceremonies aim to honour ancestors of the Tran dynasty (1226-1400), who earned their livings from fishing.
The ceremonies also remind locals of famed fish breeding dating back hundreds of years in Tuc Mac village in today’s Loc Vuong ward. The village was also the residential area of the Tran family in Nam Dinh province.
|Fish are put on a boat carried on a dragon-carved palanquin at the ceremony
The ceremonies, which pray for good weather, had been lost for years until they were reborn in 2014 based on the memories of local elders.
On February 8’s early morning, local elders gathered at Co Trach Temple to pray before setting off to take water from a nearby ancient well.
A procession of 200 people carrying flags, including dragon dance teams and drum players carried a sedan chair to the well. Fishermen with traditional costumes and fishing tools also joined the procession.
After fetching the water, the procession stopped to join a fishing ritual at a half-moon-shaped pond near the well. Ten snakehead and carp fish were caught and stored in a boat carried on a dragon-carved palaquin.
The procession moved to Thien Truong Temple for a worship ceremony.
The fish were then set free in the Hong (Red) River, aiming to bring a prosperous year for local fishermen.
Up to Sunday (February 12), there will be other activities like dragon dances, folk singing, human chess and folk wrestling.
On Saturday (February 11, or the 15th day of the first lunar month), a worship ceremony and symbolic royal seal distribution ceremony will be held.
“We have prepared enough symbolic royal seals to give to locals and tourists as lucky cards for the new year,” said Cao Xuan Hoat, an organising committee member.
Pham Thi Oanh, Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the organisers had tightened management to ensure the festival’s security.
The Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh, which is held every year between 13th and 18th day of the first lunar month, was recognised as a national intangible heritage in 2014.
The historical complex of the Tran Kings’ shrines and tombs received special national relic status in 2015.
The neighbouring Thai Binh province is considered the birthplace of the Tran Kings, while Nam Dinh was their first residential area. The festival is also held at the Tran Temple complex in Thai Binh during the first lunar month every year.