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Kings Hung honored March 31

Last Saturday Vietnam celebrated the Hung Vuong Kings Festival. The 10th day of the third lunar month marks the anniversary of the death of the 6th Hung King and became a national holiday in 2000.

A legendary dynasty

According to legend, Au Co, the mother of the Vietnamese people, carried 100 eggs which hatched into 100 children and the eldest of these became the Hung King. He was the first king of theVăn Lang country, the first nation of current Vietnam. The Hung King dynasty lasted for 18 generations, from 2879 to 235 AD. The 6th Hung King taught the mountain and rice spirits how to worship in the superior temple of edifices, which today lies in ruins.

These ruins dedicated to the Hung Kings are found on Nghia Linh Mountain, in Phu Tho province. On this day,several hundred pilgrims and government representatives flock there to celebrate and worship the founders of the country. In memory of the kings different kinds of rice are offered by the area’s ethnic groups to the sound of bronze drums. Xoan chants, which have been recognised by UNESCO as part of the cultural heritage since 24 November 2011, accompany the sound of the drums.

UNESCO delegates in Vietnam also attended the ceremonies. This could lead to the worship of the Hung Kings in Phu Tho becoming part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Vietnam is trying to make this place, which is so full of cultural and spiritual traditions, a permanent site of reunion and celebration for the Vietnamese.

Vietnamese people in communion

However, this event isn’t just the prerogative of people living in Vietnam. It is also, because of its origins and what it symbolises, an emblem of the union of Vietnamese people. Thereforethe Viet kieu – Vietnamese people living abroad, also celebrate the founding kings of the country. This year, a delegation of 50 Viet kieu went to burn incense in the many temples at the historical site in memory of their sovereign ancestors and by doing so demonstrated solidarity with Vietnamese people all over the world.

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