The sacred Buddhist land and historical site of Yen Tu in northeastern Quang Ninh province received the Special National Relic certificate on February 18 (the ninth day of the first lunar month).

The event was coincided with the opening of Yen Tu festival, one of the biggest festivals in the north of Vietnam .

Speaking at the certificate presentation ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan stressed the merit of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong, who left his throne to serve Buddha in Yen Tu mountain and established the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect which later laid a foundation for Vietnam Buddhism.

Yen Tu festival was opened with an incense offering ceremony which also saw the participation of Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan, representatives of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, monks, nuns, followers and visitors from different corners of the country.

A wide range of rituals and processions took place to pray for peace for the nation and prosperity for people.

Art performances including drum shows and lion dances also formed part of the opening of the festival.

The three-month festival is expected to see over 3 million pilgrims and visitors to the event, according to the organisers.

Yen Tu was listed as special national relic on September 27, 2012. In November, it was selected as one of the 10 most attractive spiritual destinations in Vietnam by the Vietnam Records Organisation.-VNA