A host of traditional spring festivals have kicked off in different cities and provinces across the country.

Located in the Red River Delta province of Ninh Bình, the Bai Đinh Pagoda Festival began on Feb. 21 (the sixth day of the Lunar New Year) in the presence Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and thousands of Buddhist followers and visitors.   

Ninh Binh is home to a number of relics attached to the development of Buddhism in Vietnam, including Bai Dinh Pagoda, built in the late 10th century, where an array of significant historical events took place.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is part of the Tràng An Landscape Complex – a world cultural and natural heritage site recognised by UNESCO. The pagoda itself is a complex of the original and newly built Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain, nearly 200 metres above sea level.    

The same day, the Chùa Hương or Perfume Pagoda Festival, the longest and most elaborate annual festival, kicked off in Huong Son commune, My Duc district, Hanoi, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists from across the nation.

"Visiting pagodas to ask favours from Buddha at the beginning of a new year is an indispensable part in Vietnamese people’s spiritual life. This reflects the beauty of Vietnamese culture, especially when people visit ancient pagodas, such as Huong, Thay or Yen Tu pagodas," said Most Venerable Thich Minh Hien of Huong Pagoda holiest.

Surrounded by vast green rice paddies, the site is a complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich mountain, amidst lakes and grottoes.

The pagoda was recognised as the national relic site in 1964.-VNA