(All Vietnam) – The Giong Festival – traditional festival which is held annually in many areas in Hanoi in memorial of the legendary hero Thanh Giong, one of the Four Immortals in the religious of the Vietnamese. There are two typical Giong Festival Assembly in Hanoi in Soc Son Temple – Phu Linh – Soc Son district and one at Phu Dong Temple in Phu Dong, Gia Lam district. The Giong Festival has been recognized as a Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The festival is held from 6-8 lunar month every year. According to legend, after defeating the An invaders, Phu Linh was the place where Saint Giong set his foot before flying to heaven. To commemorate the work of the Holy Spirit, here, the people built temples complex consists of 6 buildings: Temple House (Trinh Temple), Dai Bi Pagoda, Mau Temple, Thuong Temple (also known as Soc Temple), Thanh Giong monument and memorial. In particular, the Thuong temple is a place of worshiping and holding Thanh Giong festival with full of traditional rituals such as Moc Duc ceremony; procession ceremony, incense offering, elephants and horses sacrificial ceremony …
To prepare for the festival, on the night of the 5th, Moc Duc ceremony (bathing the statues) was conducted to invite the Holy One to attend. By the 6th, the assembly of the people from 8 communes in 6 villages located around Soc Temple’s Relic (Tan Minh, Tien Duoc, Phu Linh, Duc Hoa, Xuan Giang, Bac Phu) offer the gifts prepared to the Holy One, praising for fortune, happiness for the villagers. In particular, the ritual bamboo flower offering to the Thuong Temple of the village Ve Linh (Phu Linh Commune) was held first. Flowers made of bamboo and bamboo sticks about 50cm long, about 1 cm in diameter, tips are plucked with cotton and dyed symbolizes Saint Giong’s horse whip. The flowers Thuong Temple are then brought back to Ha Hoi and to be distributed to the people for good luck.
On the 7th (sanctified day according to legend),the scene of killing the last 3 An’s generals by Saint Giong at mount Ve Linh before flying to the heaven will be remaked. By the afternoon of the 8th, the sacrificial ceremony of the large size paper elephant and horses models will be carried out to end the festival because iron elephants and iron horse are two mascots associated with the Thanh Giong. All visitors participating in the festival are looking forward to join hands to carry elephants and horses to the river by the beliefs of anyone to get their hands on the actual items, that person will be blessed with luck.