Hai Duong (VNA) – The Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival 2019 kicked off in the northern province of Hai Duong on September 15, or the 17th day of the eighth lunar month.

Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival in full swing in Hai Duong hinh anh 1Art performance at the Con Son - Kiep Bac Autumn Festival (Photo: VNA)

The festival aimed to mark the 719th death anniversary of General Tran Hung Dao (or Tran Quoc Tuan), one of the most revered figures in Vietnam’s history. Born in around 1228, Supreme Commander Tran Hung Dao, also known as Grand Prince Hung Dao, was a talented military leader and an excellent writer. 

Under the Tran Dynasty (1225 – 1400), the Supreme Commander led the Dai Viet (Great Vietnam) army to victories over three major Mongolian invasions, making him one of the most accomplished military strategists in the world history. He passed away on the 20th day of the eighth lunar month in 1300 at the age of 70.

Covering a total area of eight hectares in Chi Linh district, the Con Son-Kiep Bac historical site is entwined with the life and career of Tran Hung Dao and the Great Man of Culture of the World, Nguyen Trai.

The site was a defence line built at the end of the 13th century to protect the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. It witnessed important battles between the Tran dynasty army and the Yuan-Mongol invaders.

Con Son site, surrounded by pine trees, marked the pure and upright life of Nguyen Trai (1380-1442), one of Vietnam's most famous poets and writers. Born in Con Son, he often mentioned the site in his poems and stories, and returned there in 1437. The main pagoda at the site was built to commemorate him.

With its special values, the Con Son – Kiep Bac was recognised as a national heritage site in 1962 and a special national heritage site in 2012. In 2013, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism named the Spring Festival in Con Son Pagoda and the Autumn Festival in Kiep Bac Temple as national intangible cultural heritages.

Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival in full swing in Hai Duong hinh anh 2Kiep Bac Temple (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Today, Con Son-Kiep Bac includes a number of historical and cultural sites related to the glorious feats of the Vietnamese people and army over the Yuan-Mongol invaders, as well as the life and career of the two great Vietnamese personalities. It is one of the places where the Truc Lam Zen Buddhism sect originated during the Tran dynasty.

The Con Son - Kiep Bac Spring and Autumn Festivals were recognised as national intangible cultural heritages in 2012. 

This year, the autumn festival features a range of traditional rituals and cultural activities such as incense-offering ceremonies and military parade with the participation of 1,500 fishermen and martial artists along with around 50 boats on Luc Dau River. The event aims to re-enact the Tran Dynasty army during the three struggles against Mongolian invaders and honour the contributions of General Tran Hung Dao.

Meanwhile, the Con Son-Kiep Bac Spring Festival 2019 took place from February 14-27, or the 10th-23rd day of the first lunar month.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and permanent deputy head of the organising board Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, highlight of the event was the bell casting festival at Con Son Pagoda and the ceremony launching the Con Son-Kiep Bac festival on February 20.

The launch was broadcast live on Hai Duong television.

The Con Son-Kiep Bac Spring Festival 2019 was also meant to mark the 685th death anniversary of Huyen Quang Ton Gia (1334-2014), the third progenitor of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism, thereby popularising the values of the relic site.

The festival featured rituals such as incense offering in Con Son Pagoda, as well as the temples of Nguyen Trai, Tran Nguyen Dan, Kiep Bac, Nam Tao, and Bac Dau on February 19; a water procession ceremony on February 20; and a worship offering ceremony on Ngu Nhac mountain on February 21.

Chung cake wrapping, a cooking competition, and a clay firecracker display were organised as well./.