Giong festival at Soc Temple and Phu Dong Temple

According to legend, in the 6th King Hung Dynasty, there were An (Shang or Yin Dynasty, China) invaders coming to invade Vietnam. The situation of the enemy was very strong and the king was worried to command messengers to go everywhere to look for talents to save the country. In Phu Dong Village, there was a child named Giong. At three years of age, but he was unable to talk, smile or walk. When the messengers came near the house, the child unexpectedly spoke to ask for going to fight against the enemy. According to the request of the child, the messenger’s report to the king and the king commanded blacksmiths to forge an iron cuirass, an iron sword, an iron rod cane and an iron horse. The child grew up very fast.

The invaders had arrived at Trau Mountain (Buffalo Mountain) foot. The messengers brought the iron cuirass, the iron sword the to Giong’s house. The child sat up quickly and became a knight. Dressed in his new cuirass, he rode out on the iron horse and defeated the An invaders. After defeating the An, Giong and his horse came at the foot of Soc Mountain and ascended to Heaven. The king memorized the merit of Giong, referred Phu Dong Thien Vuong on him and established the temple right at his country.

Giong Festival (Hoi Giong in Vietnamese) is a traditional festival celebrated annually in many parts of Ha Noi to respect the mythical hero, Saint Giong (Thanh Giong in Vietnamese) who is credited with defending the country against foreign enemies. Giong Festival is held in many locations throughout the northern part of Viet Nam, however the most typical ones are Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple and Soc Temple in Ha Noi.

1. Giong Festival at Soc Temple:

The festival happens annually at Soc Temple, Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Ha Noi Capital from the sixth day to the eighth day of January on the lunar calendar. It is enough ceremonies as: Light Opening Ceremony (Le Khai Quang), Welcoming Ceremony (Le Ruoc), Incense Offering Ceremony (Le Dang Huong), Bamboo Flower Offering Ceremony (Le Dang Hoa Tre). During the festival, there are other traditional games such as Chinese chess, human chess, cock fighting… and art performances of villagers as traditional opera (cheo), love duet (quan ho).

2. Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple:

Giong Festival at the Phu Dong Temple is held annually on the eighth and the ninth of April on the lunar calendar in the village where Saint Giong was born, Phu Dong Commune, Gia Lam District, Ha Noi. Many ceremonies are carried out such as the ceremony carrying flags to Mother Temple (the temple worshiping Saint Going’s mother). the ceremony carrying flags from the Mau Temple to the Thuong Temple (Upper Temple) to sacrifice to the saint, ceremony inspecting battlefield and giving offerings to the Saint Giong, ceremony cleaning and washing weapons with holy water and ceremony processing flags to go to announce the victorious news to heaven and earth. Besides, fighting against the Yin invaders is re-enacted in wide space and with hundreds of characters wearing uniform, colorful flags, the sound of drums and gongs resounding.

Giong Festival at Soc temple and Phu Dong Temple happen both solemnly and exciting. The festival praised the patriotism and the dauntlessness of Vietnamese people. Giong festival also happens at over ten other sites in Ha Noi. It has become big festival of the nation. Finding great value of the festival, UNESCO recognized it as the world intangible cultural heritage.

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