The Hung Kings’ Festival is a yearly holiday in Vietnam, which always takes place on the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month. This year the festival runs from 19-21 April 2013. People from all over Vietnam join together at the Hung Temple in order to celebrate the death day of the Hung Kings.
This festival was founded for two main reasons:
- To celebrate the first Hung King, who is considered the founder of the Vietnamese nation, and who is considered to be the common ancestor of all people living in Vietnam (even though there are approximately 54 different ethnic groups).
- By celebrating the Hung Kings the people also celebrate the togetherness and singularity of everyone in the nation.
During their rule, the Hung Kings did a lot for the Vietnamese people, but they are credited during this festival with a few specific things:
- They created a nation-wide community among all people living there.
- They instilled a sense of patriotism, which we still see today.
- And they gave the nation a sense of solidarity and the courage to stand for sovereignty.
The celebration always takes place at the Hung Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain. This is considered to be the location where all Vietnamese people originated from, so they return to the birthplace of their nation and people in order to celebrate their nation’s founder. Some who have moved away to other countries will even return to Vietnam for this special celebration. The order of events happens as follows:
- First visitors will follow a marked path, decorated with many flags from Viet Tri, the Phu Tho province’s capital, up to the temple.
- Many colorful lights are released into the sky the night before the main festival.
- The morning of the festival, a worship service is held for the ancestors.
- A five-fruit feast along with special cakes are offered in order to remember the 18th King’s own recipe and to commemorate that the kings taught the people to cultivate rice.
- Afterwards there is a march honouring the gods.
- Finally the celebration ends with song and dance ceremonies, as well as various games and friendly competitions.
Because of all the great things the Hung Kings did for the Vietnamese people, they are still revered today during this special and unique festival. The Vietnamese people can use this time to remember their origins and be grateful for the sense of community instated by the Hung Kings.