Yen Tu Festival in Quang Ninh, North Vietnam

Every year Yen Tu Festival happens from the tenth day to the end of March on the lunar calendar in Yen Tu Mountain area of Thuong Yen Cong Commune, Uong Bi City, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. Yen Tu was The Buddhism’s center of Dai Viet before (Dai Viet is the name of Viet Nam in Tran Dynasty (1226-1400)). Yen Tu was also Place founding the Zen sect of Truc Lam. Pilgrims and tourists join Yen Tu Festival to separate themselves from the carnal world, come to Buddhist world.

Yen Tu Mountain area is in Thuong Yen Cong commune, 14km from Uong Bi City. Before, People called Yen Tu Mountain Voi Mountain (Elephant Mountain) because its shape is the same as a giant elephant. According to a historical book, the mountain was also named Bach Van Son (White Cloud Mound) because throughout the year it dips in white cloud. Yen Tu Mountain area has 11 pagodas, hundreds of small pagodas and towers. Dong pagoda (brass pagoda) is in the highest top, 1,068 m compared with the sea. In Yen Tu, There is a three-floor high tower made from stone and has the age of 1758. The towers have a connection with the stories about King Tran Nhan Tong of Truc Lam Zen sect.

Yen Tu had become the center of Buddhism since King Tran Nhan Tong gave up the gold throne, wore a cassock, meditated until enlightenment and founded a special Buddhist sect of Vietnam which is Zen sect of Truc Lam and became the first patriarch with the title Dieu Ngu Giac Hoang Tran Nhan Tong. He commanded to build many big or small works in the mountain.

People do not know Yen Tu Festival has been formed since no time. They only know, since the 17th or 18th century, in the top of Yen Tu with the height of 1,068m, there has been a pagoda (Thien Truc pagoda) of which the roof has been covered with brass. Inside the pagoda, there were 2 statues made from brass and besides the pagoda, there was a flat big piece of stone called fairy chessboard. There was a big “Buddha” world carved into the cliff. All radiated out holy, mystery, magical attraction. Yen Tu is not only a place having mighty sight but also a piece of holy land. That is the returning place of thousands of pilgrims and tourists whenever the spring comes back.

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