Mai Hac De (? -722), real name is Mai Thuc Loan. He leaded people to oppose the occupancy of Duong Dynasty in Vietnam then acceded in the early eighth century. Being grateful King Mai Hac De, people established the temple to worship him in Ve Son Mountain of Hung Son Valley, Van Dien Commune, Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province.
Legend says that King Mai Hac De had the black color face kin, so people called him Mai Hac De (in Vietnamese-Chinese, black means Hac). He had an extraordinary strength. He could kill a tiger himself. He was respected by villagers as soon as he is a boy.
Every year on early spring days (January 13th-15thof the Lunar New Year), people organize King Mai Hac De Temple Festival. The festival aims to respect King Mai Hac De and his son being Mai Thuc Huy who continued the career of King Mai Hac De.
King Mai Hac De Temple Festival contains deeply traditional cultural color. The ceremony happens as follows:
– January 13th on the lunar calendar: The ceremony Khai Quang (making something become clean) happens at the 2 tombs of Mai Hac De king and his mother and the temple.
– January 14th on the lunar calendar: The ceremony Yet Cao (welcoming gods to come back for the festival) happens at the tomb of Mai Hac De king, his mother’s tomb, and the temple.
– January 15th on the lunar calendar: The ceremony Dai Te (mean ceremony)
+ Morning: The villages in the area carry palanquin to King Mai Temple to worship according to the royal court ritual.
+ Afternoon: incense offering ceremony at the tomb and gratitude showing ceremony at the temple.
Besides the ceremony, there are collective activities such as palanquin parading, boat racing, human chess competing, cockfighting, freely wrestling and Vietnamese popular opera. In addition, the activities for the young such as camping, singing and dancing, sailing, beauty contesting and so on are also held.
King Mai Hac De Temple Festival is one of the most traditional folk festivals in Central Vietnam. If you have a chance to visit Nghe An on early spring days, do not forget this special festival.