|A palanquin procession is part of the Hung King festival.
VOV takes a look at how the worship is practiced today by Muong people in Phu Tho province, where the Van Lang state was established.
Worship of the Hung Kings is integral to the spiritual life of the Muong. This worship is tied up with the belief that all Vietnamese people are descended from the Dragon Lord and the Fairy Goddess, the Vietnamese maxim “drinking water, remember the source”, and the spirit of great national unity.
The Hung Kings are worshiped by a number of ancient relics in Phu Tho province which also honor other great contributors to Vietnam’s history.
Nguyen Van Minh of Thanh Son district said, “We hold Hung King worshipping rituals every year. It is an honor to do it.”
The Chung communal house in Giap Lai commune was recently restored using local donations. The communal house, a venue for community activities, honors Tan Vien the Mountain Saint, a legendary figure who was the son-in-law of the 18th Hung King.
Nguyen Ngoc Tiep, a manager of the Chung communal house, noted, “As caretakers of a famous historical relic, we are in charge of protecting the building, its contents, and its surroundings, and attracting more visitors.”
The Chung communal house hosts the village festivals and folk art performances to enrich the spiritual life of the people and help preserve their traditional culture.
An offering ceremony for Tan Vien the Mountain Saint by Phu Tho residents (Photo: phutho.gov.vn)
Ha Van Ly of Giap Lai commune said, “I was born and raised here. The communal house already existed when I was a small child. We recently restored the communal house, which was damaged during the war. Everyone in Giap Lai commune was really happy about that.”
Thanh Son district in Phu Tho province has 11 recognized historical relics. Most of them honor figures from the Hung dynasty.
According to cultural researcher Nguyen Anh Tuan, former director of the Hung Kings Museum in Phu Tho province, worship of the Hung Kings is a part of ancestral worship in general. The Muong also worship other great historical figures, including Tan Vien the Mountain Saint, who governed all the creatures on land in Vietnamese mythology.
Researcher Anh said, “The Hung Kings are respected by all people across Vietnam but the Muong people worship them quite differently. They worship the gods of nature, such as mountains and rivers, and great contributors to the nation, including the Hung Kings, the founders of Vietnam.”
In Phu Tho province, there are 326 relics honoring the Hung Kings, their wives, their children, and their mandarins. The preservation and promotion of the Hung King relics serves as a model for similar cultural heritages across Vietnam.