Spring festivals abound in first lunar month

In the first month of the Lunar New Year, there are many traditional cultural festivities in different parts of the country. Following are some notable festivals in the northern region.

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Yen Tu Spring Festival

The Yen Tu Spring Festival is taking place from the 10th of the first lunar month until the end of the third lunar month at the Yen Tu historical site on the mountain of the same name in Uong Bi City in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

As one of the first activities to usher in the National Tourism Year 2018 hosted by the province, investment has been heavily made, including the construction of a new cable car system to prevent traffic congestion, plus a cultural center to cater to pilgrims during this festival, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Besides a journey to the land of Vietnamese Buddhism, pilgrims and tourists have the opportunity to join traditional rituals, folk games, festivities and art performances in commemoration of King Tran Nhan Tong who founded the Truc Lam Zen sect in the late 13th century after abdicating the throne and embracing the life of a Buddhist monk on the mountain.

Yen Tu site boasts a breathtaking natural landscape, surrounded by ancient pagodas and temples and carries significant historical, cultural and natural values. It is on the list of the top ten spiritual destinations in Vietnam by the Vietnam Records Book Center.

In addition, Yen Tu was recognized as a special national relic in September 2012.

Huong Pagoda Festival

Large numbers of pilgrims descended to Huong Pagoda in the district of My Duc in Hanoi City on February 21 (the sixth of the first lunar month) to join the opening ceremony of the annual Huong Pagoda Festival.

The festival is the biggest and longest event in northern Vietnam which lasts until the end of the third lunar month. This event attracted 50,000 visitors on its first day and looks to attract around 1.5 million pilgrims.

Tourists come to the festival not only to pray for a new year of good health, happiness and prosperity but also to admire the splendid landscape of Huong Pagoda.

Earlier, Nguyen Van Hau, vice chairman of My Duc District, proposed monks stop delivering lucky tokens to pilgrims to prevent any violent behaviors which were often seen in previous years.

Lim Festival in Bac Ninh

The famous Lim folk music festival in Tien Du District of Bac Ninh Province on the twelfth and thirteenth of the first lunar month is a major event of Kinh Bac area in spring with multiple cultural and artistic activities.

There are many rituals and folk games such as quan ho (love duets), repartee singing, human chess playing, wrestling, martial arts, and cooking and weaving competitions. This year’s festival falls on February 27 and 28.

The festival celebrates the “Quan Ho” folk song which was acknowledged as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009.

Tran Temple Festival

During the first lunar month, one of the most outstanding cultural festivities in Nam Dinh Province, the land of Tran Kings and national hero Tran Hung Dao, is the Tran Temple Festival from February 28 to March 2 this year.

A highlight of the festival is the Tran Temple’s seal opening ceremony which always takes place at 11 p.m. on the 14th of the first lunar month until the small hours as tens of thousands of people stand in long queues to obtain a lucky seal stamp. 

Ba Chua Kho Festival

While pilgrims in the south often visit Ba Chua Xu Lady Temple at the foot of Sam Mountain in Chau Doc, An Giang Province during the first three lunar months, those doing business in the north flock to Ba Chua Kho (The Queen of Stock) Temple in Co Me Village, Vu Ninh Commune, Bac Ninh Province to practice the custom of borrowing money from the Lady at the beginning of the year to pray for business success.

The Ba Chua Kho Temple Festival will be held on the 14th of the first lunar month, which falls on March 1 this year and wraps up at the end of the first lunar month.

Saigon Times

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