Hung Kings to be honoured in Phu Tho hinh anh 1People pay a visit to the Hung Kings Temple Complex in Phu Tho Province during last year’s festival. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The annual pilgrimage festival honouring the Vietnamese people’s ancestors, the Hung Kings, will be held in the northern province of Phu Tho between April 21 and 25.

The traditional festival is held on the death anniversary of the Hung Kings - the 10th day of the third lunar month, which falls on April 25 this year.

The event has been observed for thousands of years, displaying the country’s cultural characteristics and consolidating national solidarity.

The festival this year will be hosted by Phu Tho province while four other provinces will help organise, including the northern province of Thai Nguyen, the central province of Quang Nam and the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Kien Giang.

Various activities will be held at the Hung Temple Complex, Viet Tri city, communes surrounding the Hung Temple Complex and temples worshipping the Hung Kings and heroes of Hung Kings era throughout Phu Tho province.

According to plan, contributing provinces will join in the worship ceremony and contribute money to cover the organizing expenses and to upgrade the Hung Temple Relic Site. The provinces will join in various activities during the festival like holding a chung (square cake) making contest and preparing giay (glutinous round) cake; exhibit local delicacies at a fair during the event and perform at art shows.

At a recent meeting, authorities of involved provinces agreed on the plan and will promote the festival so that many people all around the nation would join in the event.

Ha Ke San, Vice Chairman of the Phu Tho province People’s Committee, head of the organising board, asked involved sectors in the provinces to coordinate in organising the event.

Phu Tho and the contributing provinces will prepare the best conditions to organise a successful and safe festival at the lowest costs and leave the best marks in the memories of domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.

Vietnamese legend has it that Lac Long Quan, son of Kinh Duong Vuong, married Au Co, daughter of King De Lai. Au Co gave birth to a sack containing 100 eggs from which 100 children were born. 

The couple then decided to separate to populate the land, so half the children followed their mother to the highlands and the rest went with their father to the sea.

The first child went with mother Au Co to Phong Chau, now Phu Tho province. He then became King Hung and founded the first nation in the history of Vietnam, Van Lang.          

Ruling the country for 18 generations, the Hung Kings taught the people how to grow wet rice. They chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for lush crops.

To honour the Hung Kings, a complex of temples dedicated to them was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, and the tenth day of the third lunar month serves as their anniversary.

The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings are closely related to the ancestral worship traditions of most Vietnamese families, an important part of people’s spiritual lives.

The worshipping ritual of the Hung Kings was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.-VNA