Traditional spring festivals kick off across the country

Many Vietnamese traditional spring festivals have kicked off throughout the country attracting a huge number of visitors.

       Pilgrims flock to Huong Pagoda (Photo: Sggp)

The opening ceremony of the Huong Pagoda Festival was organized at the Thien Tru Pagoda in the suburban My Duc district of Hanoi on the sixth day of the first lunar month (January 28), attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims and Buddhists from across the country.

Cold weather and a light drizzle in the early morning hours did little to deter the streams of motorbikes and automobiles heading towards the Huong Pagoda, causing huge traffic congestion.

On this occasion, His Holiness, Japanese Buddhist monk Yoshimizu Daichi of Nisshin Kustu Pagoda in Tokyo, Japan offered 30 cherry blossom trees to the Huong Son relic site.

Huong Pagoda Festival 2012 has received more than 16,000 visitors since the first day of the first lunar month (January 23), said Nguyen Van Hau, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of My Duc District and head of the festival organization committee.

Hau said that the festival organization committee and local authorities have invested in expanding the wharf and putting a total of 4,500 boats into service in this year’s festival, presenting a year-on-year increase of 300 more boats.

A plan to set up shops and booths was submitted to local authorities’ for approval. Accordingly, they must be removed far from the worship areas, so as to avoid any traffic congestion. Use of loud and noisy loudspeakers has also been discouraged.

A waste treatment system has been put into operation during the festival. The organizers have laid strict regulations to deal with violators and vandals at the holy Buddhist shrine or creating a menace in the surrounding area.

Two wrestlers compete in a match at the Thu Le traditional wrestling festival. (Photo: Sggp)

The People’s Committee of My Duc District has also asked shop owners to pledge not to overcharge tourists and guarantee food hygiene and safety.

However, several boat owners, shops and restaurants have increased prices and visitors have been put off by vendors selling wild animals at the holy site.

Huong Pagoda Festival is the biggest and longest annual festival in Vietnam that lasts for three full months during spring. The event attracts more than 1 million pilgrims and tourists every year. The Pagoda is traditionally a place where pilgrims go to welcome Tet Lunar New Year every year.

Phat Ba (Bodhisattva) Nam Hai tourist area in the Mekong Delta Province of Bac Lieu also received thousands of people on the sixth day of the first lunar month (January 28).

The imposing statue of Bodhisattva was built in 1973 on the seashore with her face looking towards the East Sea. The construction is an outstanding sculpture in Bac Lieu.

The tourist site received a large number of visitors this year and the local authorities are finding it difficult to control the rush, the jostling, the pushing and the many petty thieves from operating.

On the same day, the Thu Le traditional wrestling festival opened at Thu Le village in Quang Phuoc Commune in Quang Dien District in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue.

By staff writers – Translated by Kim Khanh

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