Preparations for the 2010 Hung Kings Temple Festival and the celebration of the death anniversary of the Hung Kings have been basically complete, said the organising board on April 10.

The organising board has mobilised more than 1,000 artists to perform at the opening and closing ceremonies and other cultural arts programmes during the 10-day festival in the northern midland province of Phu Tho .

A security command centre connected with the Ministry of Public Security and a computerised press centre have been set up to serve the event.

Nguyen Thi Kim Hai, Vice Chairwoman of the Phu Tho provincial People’s Committee and the organising board, said that the celebration, the most imposing of its kind so far, reflects the Vietnamese people’s gratitude to ancestors.

The opening ceremonies of the festival and the seventh culture, sports and tourism festival for north-eastern provinces will be held on the night of April 14 ( the first day of the third lunar month), she said, adding that the incense burning ritual to worship the Hung Kings will be held on April 23

There will be the first street festival in Viet Tri city, she noted.

The Hung Kings Temple Festival has been held annually since 1460 under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong to commemorate 18 Hung Kings who were the founders of the country and started a golden age in Vietnamese history.

Since, the Hung King Temple Festival has become a rendezvous of national unity and spirit, and is a chance for Vietnamese living in and outside the country to express their gratitude to ancestors.

The anniversary of the Hung Kings’ death was officially recognised as a national holiday in 2000, and in 2007 the National Assembly approved a regulation permitting the country’s workers to have the day off with pay.

The Hung Kings Temple is located on Nghia Linh Mountain , Phong Chau district, in Phu Tho province, 100km northwest of Hanoi . It is a complex of ancient tombs, monuments and temples.

Notably, the Lower Temple , a popular tourist destination, was according to legend the location where Au Co gave birth to a sac containing 100 eggs from which 100 babies were born. The eldest son, Hung Vuong, named himself king and the throne was passed through 18 generations from 2879 to 253 BC./.