The northern midland province of Phu Tho launched a festival paying homage to Vietnam’s legendary mother Au Co at her temple in Ha Hoa district on February 25, the seventh day of the first lunar month.

Legend has it that Au Co was a fairy and descended to earth on the seventh day of the first lunar month. She later met with Lac Long Quan and gave birth to 100 sons. Fifty of them followed their father to the sea and the other half followed their mother to the mountains.

When the family arrived at what is now known as Ha Hoa’s Hien Luong commune, mother Au Co and her children were so captivated by the area’s fertility and stunning landscapes that they decided to settle there. The eldest son was crowned King Hung – the legendary first king of Vietnam – on that land.

They cultivated water rice to provide food, planted mulberry trees, and bred silk worms. Au Co then returned to heaven on the 25th day of the twelfth lunar month.

The festival was opened with an offering ritual to the guardian deity at the local communal house. A palanquin procession began at the house later in the day, ending at the Au Co Temple.

Besides commemorating the legendary mother, the two-day festival also offers visitors a chance to take part in folk games such as tug of war, Chinese chess, and crossbow shooting along with singing and dancing performances by locals.

Many of Vietnam’s traditional festivals open in the first lunar month, including the Bai Dinh Pagoda, Huong (Perfume) Pagoda, and Hai Ba Trung (Trung Sisters) Temple festivals.-VNA