The annual Truong Ba Temple festival held on April 15–17 (lunar calendar) in Tra Bong district, the central province of Quang Ngai, attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Located 52 km to the Northwest of Quang Ngai City, Truong Ba Temple worships Thien Y A Na (Lady Po Nagar), the holy mother of the Cham community in the south-central region.

The festival at the temple, also called the Le Xuan Ritual, commemorates the origins of the temple and the daily lives of early residents in these fruitful lands, the home of cinnamon, honey, betel and areca.

The festival’s activities combine the cultures of the region’s many ethnic groups, such as Kinh, Cor, and Cham as well as several other minority tribes. Holy ceremonies are held at the temple, and, whilst buffalo sacrifice and gong performance have their roots in Cor culture, spiritual and religious rites have their roots amongst the Kinh.

Besides ceremonies, various traditional cultural practices take place such as floating lanterns, martial arts performances, Bai Choi singin g, dragon dancing and folk games.

Ho Van Nghia, a village elder from the Cor community in Tra Bong’s Tra Thuy commune, said the custom of Le Xuan Ritual, which originated centuries ago, is still going strong today, with offerings of honey, cinnamon, betel and areca being brought to Truong Ba Temple.

In May this year, the temple was awarded the national historical relic certificate during an official ceremony. The province plans to continue to invest in the protection of its relic and improve their yearly event.

Truong Ba Temple is a historical site, witnessing the early migration of the Kinh people to the South in search of a new and better life. Unlike other temples in the region, it also pays respect to Bui Ta Han and Mai Dinh Dong, two saints who actually existed. A temple worshipping “White Tiger Mountain God” lies to the West of Truong Ba. Legend has it that a white tiger protected the local residents from other dangerous species living in the forests.

Dr. Nguyen Dang Vu, Director of the provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, said many excavations and historical documents showed that the temple was built by Cham people around the 14th-15th century. Fifteen years ago, the head of a small terra cotta statute was discovered in the temple’s complex, and a French ethnologist estimated its age at around 1,500 years.

Today, the temple is more than just a communal place for local people to practise their spiritual and religious beliefs, it is also a symbol of the solidarity between and intertwined culture of different ethnic groups, proudly said Chairman of the Tra Bong district People’s Committee on the occasion of receiving the national historical relic certificate.-VNA