Phu Tho: Festival commemorates nation’s legendary mother hinh anh 1The palanquin procession at the festival (Photo: VNA)
Phu Tho (VNA) – A festival dedicated to Au Co – the legendary mother of Vietnam – opened in Hien Luong commune of Ha Hoa district, the northern province of Phu Tho, on February 3 (or the seventh day of the Lunar New Year).

The festival was opened with a ritual worshipping the guardian deity at the local communal house. A palanquin procession began later in the day, taking the offerings from the communal house to the Au Co Temple. The ritual prays for peace, good weather, prosperity and happiness.

The Au Co Temple festival marked the start of festive activities in Phu Tho in the spring.

The temple was built under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (15th century) and named a national historical and cultural relic site in 1991. On January 23, 2017, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognised the worship of Au Co at the temple as part of the national intangible cultural heritage.

Legend has it that Au Co, who was a fairy, descended to the earth on the seventh day of the first lunar month. She 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 in the upstream Red River.

When they arrived in the area which is now Hien Luong commune, Au Co and her children were so captivated by the area’s fertility and stunning landscapes that they decided to settle there, and this was where the eldest son was crowned as Hung King – the legendary founder of Vietnam.

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

Vietnam has about 8,000 festivals each year. Of which, nearly 90 percent are traditional festivals, 6 percent are religious ones and 4 percent are historical ones.-VNA