March went and April is approaching, the anticipation is already in the air for what’s coming. Every year around this time, Vietnamese people open their hearts and souls to the past with full gratitude toward their ancestors, who initiated the foundation of, not only the country but what made the Vietnamese, Vietnamese – The Hùng King.
The Hung King wasn’t a person but instead a title given to the ancient Vietnamese rulers under Hồng Bàn dynasty from 2879 BC to 258 BC throughout 18 crowned kings. They were the founding fathers of Văn Lang, the very first form of Vietnam as an officially recognized country, with flourished agricultures, cultures and fundamental identifications.
Fun fact! Did you know according to folklores, the Hung Kings line was the direct descendants of a fairy and a dragon? That’s right! We are magical babies.
Legend has it; the first Hung King was the eldest son (among a hundred children) of a fairy Mother, from the mountain sights and a dragon Father, ruled over the vast sea. When the couple realized they could not stay together because of their blood lines and origins, their hundred children were divided equally into two groups. One group followed their Father down to the vast Sea, the other group with their Mother ruled over the high, mighty mountains, where Văn Lang later on located.
With that in mind, in 2007 from the 8th to 11th of the third lunar month with the 10th to be the main event, Vietnamese people will hold Commemoration Festival, with the purpose of remembering and paying tribute to the contribution of the Hung Kings as the traditional founders of the nation. And it means, today is Hung Kings day.
The festival begins with incense lighting at the Celestial Temple on top of Nghĩa Lĩnh Mountain to pay tributes and people from all corners of the country and even oversea gather at Hung King Temple, Phu Tho to participate in solemn ceremonies. They also will prepare the palanquin and oblations including foods, flowers, and incense sticks and on sharp 6:30am on 10th day, together with their beautiful holiday clothes carrying colorful offerings, flags and flowers, delegates head towards the mountain to offer wreaths from leaders of the nation, representatives of Phu Tho province as well as other provinces and cities.
Beside the Upper Temple, flocks of people also offer incense sticks and flowers at other places nearby such as Gieng Temple or the foot of Nghia Linh Mountain. The whole process of palanquin procession ceremony and incense offering ceremony is directly reported so that every person living in Vietnam or in a foreign country can experience the spirit of this meaningful event. Participating in these ceremonies, people from all parts of the country, regardless of ages, pray their ancestors for blessed lives.
Picture of Hung Kings Festival by vietbao.vn
Apart from all the serious part of ceremonies, The commemoration of the Hung Kings also consist of several cheerful activities like performances of Cheo singing, Quan Ho singing, Xoan singing as well as games of chess playing, rice cooking and chicken kicking among villages. The winner of these competitions will have an opportunity to take the procession to the Upper Temple to celebrate national ceremony. Therefore, that will be a pride for the winner and that village as for the belief of being blessed by Hung Kings. The villagers ‘preparation and getting together aim toward victory urges them to overcome hardships foreshow the spiritual life of Vietnamese people, which expresses through a clear form of cultural activities and traditional beliefs.
Nevertheless, Hùng King commemorational festival is a beautiful custom in Vietnamese tradition and one of the most important holidays of the beginning of every year for Vietnamese people. It’s the time for everybody from all over the country putting down their differences and coming together as one to strengthen the country’s long lasting tradition of gratitude, patriotism as well as enhance national solidarity.