A ceremony was held in the central province of Quang Ngai on April 6 to pay tribute to the soldiers and sailors based on Hoang Sa, who sacrificed their lives over the centuries guarding the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.

The ceremony has been held annually for over four hundred years at the An Vinh communal house on Ly Son Island, on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month, which this year falls on April 6.

The traditional ritual includes the launching of replicas of the boats used in the past with effigies representing the sailors and soldiers.

According to Vietnamese history, the Hoang Sa flotilla was first established when the Nguyen Lords began to rule the south of the country. By then soldiers had been based on the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagos for almost three centuries, since the time of the Nguyen Lords and during the Tay Son and the Nguyen dynasties. At the time the Hoang Sa flotilla was also responsible for guarding Bac Hai (Truong Sa).-VNA