Traditional spring festivals kick off in northern, central provinces

Various festivals started on the 10th day of the Lunar Year (February 4) in northern and central provinces to welcome the Spring. Participants not only enjoyed the festive atmosphere but also prayed for peace and prosperity for the whole nation.

Long lines of people climb up Yen Tu Mountain (Photo: SGGP)

More than 30 thousand Buddhist monks, nuns, followers and tourists flocked to the foot of Yen Tu mountain, northern coastal Quang Ninh province, to celebrate the traditional Yen Tu Spring Festival.

Also attending the festival was Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan.

The festival officially started with dragon and lion dances, martial arts performances and an opera featuring the epic poem ‘Hao Khi Non Thieng’ (the spirit of sacred mountain) performed by the Quang Ninh Cheo Troupe.

The opera revolves around the story of Tran Nhan Tong, born 1258, the third king of the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400), who twice successfully defeated Mongolia's army.

Tran Nhan Tong passed the throne to his son in 1293 to become a Buddhist monk and was one of the founders of the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist School Truc Lam Yen Tu. He attained enlightenment and passed away in 1308.

After the opera, rites were preformed to pray for the nation’s peace and prosperity.

Participants also offered incense to extend their gratitude to the founders of Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhist School.

The festival will last until the end of the 3rd month of the Lunar year.

Thousands of people flocked to Sinh Village in the southern bank of Huong (Perfume) River in Phu Vang District of Hue City in the central region to watch traditional wrestling.

Hundreds of wrestlers of all age groups throughout the country came to the village to take part in the qualifying rounds. To be eligible for the semifinal, a wrestler must win three successive matches. To become the national champion, a wrestler must win at least eight matches in the competition.

The wrestling competition of Sinh village is a beautiful tradition as they continue Hue inhabitants’ sportsmanship of martial arts over the past six centuries.

Mountainous people living in the North flocked to Dinh Hoa District of Thai Nguyen Province and Ba Be District of Bac Kan Province to join Long Tong, a traditional festival of the Tay ethnic people.

Opening ceremony of Yen Tu Spring Festival 2009

The festival is held in memory of Emperor Shen Nong who is considered the father of farming in the region. Shen Nong taught the people to garden, cultivate grains and raise livestock.

During the festival, participants pray for favorable weather, bumper crops and bounteous livestock. Participants could play traditional folk games, including tug of war, walking on stilts and crossbow shooting. Also on show were martial arts performances and Tay water puppetry.

Deputy Chairman of Dinh Hoa District Luu Viet Phu said that the Long Tong Festival this year attracted more than 80,000 people to the district.

Dinh Hoa was the capital of the North during in the resistance against the French (1947-1954). The historical relics in the district have been recognized by the government as some of the most important evidence of the Vietnamese people’s struggles against foreign aggression in the 20th century, added Phu.

Before taking part in the festival, participants came to the Commemorative House to offer incense in front of the statue of late President Ho Chi Minh to pay tribute to him and then visited the Tin Keo and Khuong Tat tents, where he lived and led the resistance.

A Quan Ho singing competition was also held in Kinh Bac Cultural Center in Bac Ninh City with the participation of 32 duos from Quan Ho villages and more than 150 artistes.

Duos that won top prizes will be eligible for the Lim, a traditional Quan Ho Singing Festival, annually organized on the 13th of the 1st month of the Lunar year.

Quan Ho is a form of Vietnamese folk music that originated in what is now Bac Ninh Province in the 13th century. 

By Staff writers – Translated by Phuong Lan

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