The annual Ponagar Festival, the biggest of its kind in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, opened in Nha Trang city on April 20 (the 21st day of the third lunar month), drawing a crowd of pilgrims from the surrounding provinces.

The two-day event commemorates Goddess Ponagar or Thien Y A Na – Holy Mother of the Cham community in the central region, who is believed to teach the locals to grow rice, raise silkworms and weave fabric.

Folk rituals such as a requiem and the release of flower floating candles will be accompanied by a ceremony to pray for peace, happiness and prosperity of the nation, and cultural activities honouring the spiritual life of the ethnic people in the central southern region.

The 1,200-year-old Ponagar-dedicated tower, built using a unique Cham technique, was recognised as a national historical relic site in 1979.

In 2012, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognised the Ponargar festival as a national intangible heritage.-VNA