People offer incense at Middle Temple (Photo: VNA)

Phu Tho (VNA)
– Traditional rituals were held at the Hung Kings Temple historical relic site in the northern province of Phu Tho on April 12 (the sixth day of the third lunar month) to commemorate the death anniversary of the nation’s legendary founder Lac Long Quan and pay tribute to ​mother Au Co.

The provincial leaders offered incense, flowers and offerings to the ​founder who laid the foundations for the modern country.

They prayed for peace and prosperity for the homeland while pledging to work together to protect the country and build a thriving nation.

Phu Tho province asserted its determination to join national efforts to preserve the values of the Hung Kings Temple historical relic site, making it a spiritual destination for people nationwide.

On the same day, the officials also paid homage to mother Au Co at her temple with a host of offerings, which include 100 banh chung (square glutinous rice cakes) and banh day (round glutinous rice cakes), betel and areca, as well as fruit.

Vietnamese legend has it that Lac Long Quan, son of Kinh Duong Vuong, married Au Co, a 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 in order to populate the land and propagate the race, so half the children followed their mother to the highlands and the remaining 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, called Van Lang.

Ruling the country over 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 great contributions of 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 the national commemorative anniversary.

The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings are closely related to the ancestral worshipping tradition of most Vietnamese families which forms an important part of people's spiritual lives. It was recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.-VNA