Every year Thien Hau Pagoda Festival in Binh Duong happens for three days, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth of January on the lunar calendar at 4 Nguyen Du Street, Thu Dau Mot City, Binh Duong Province. Thien Hau is a goddess whose first name is Mi Chau. She was born in Phuoc Kien of China, in 1044, Tong Nhan Tong dynasty. When she was eight years old, she could read. She became a nun of Taoism when she was eleven years old. When she was thirteen years old, she was given ancient books by gods. Since then, she had trained according to the books until she reached the peak of the way in Taoism.
One day, her father named Lam Tich Khanh and two her older brothers transported salt to Giang Tay to sell by boat. On the way, the boat was struck by a big storm. At that time, she was sitting to weave fabric beside her mother, but her soul went out to save her father and brothers. She used her teeth to keep father’s corner of the coat and the two hands kept the two brothers. At that time, her mother called her, which makes her answer. She just opened her lips to answer, her father was swept away by the water stream and she saved only the two brothers. Since then, each time boats have been in danger, people have called her for help. In 1110, she was conferred Thien Hau Thanh Mau by Tong Dynasty. Since then, in China, many temples have been built to worship her and they were called after her name, Thien Hau Thanh Mau, shortly Thien Hau.
Afterward, because of not submitting Thanh dynasty, some Chinese came to some countries of Southeast Asia, including to Vietnam, to earn their living. Most Chinese had to cross the sea to come to Vietnam. To be safe, they prayed Thien Hau Thanh Mau for support. Reaching Vietnam safely, Oversea Chinese believed that Thien Hau helped them. Therefore, they set up some temples to worship her. People are used to calling those temples pagodas. Thien Hau Pagoda in Binh Duong is one of those pagodas.
Thien Hau Pagoda Festival aims to show the gratitude of both Chinese Vietnamese and Native Vietnamese to Thien Hau Lady who they think helped them overcome the difficulty in life. In the ceremony, they pray to Lady for giving them a peaceful and comfortable life. The festival happens according to order as follows:
– At night 13/1 on the lunar calendar, people in Thu Dau Mot City lay a table in front of their houses to prepare to welcome Lady on the day after.
– In the morning 14/1, Lady Greeting Ceremony is held after traditional way. Lady’s palanquin is carried throughout streets with lion and dragon dancing teams, colorful flowers and flags.
– On 15/1, people gather in Lady Pagoda to burn incenses praying for health and happiness in the year.
Thien Hau Pagoda Festival in Binh Duong happens in Binh Duong becomes a big festival day of Chinese Vietnamese and Native Vietnamese. It is one of the most famous traditional folk festivals in Southeast Vietnam. If you have a chance to travel to Binh Duong in mix-January, do not forget to mix yourselves into this festival atmosphere.