Celebrations for Hung Kings’ Anniversary: A Myriad of Activities

The Hung Temple Festival and Phu Tho Culture and Tourism Week 2024 will commence on April 12th, culminating on the 18th. This grand celebration will showcase a kaleidoscope of traditional rituals, cultural performances, and immersive experiences that pay homage to the rich heritage of Phu Tho, Vietnam.

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This year’s Hung Kings Anniversary Festival and the 2024 Phu Tho Culture and Tourism Week will be held over a 10-day period, concluding on April 18th, which marks the 10th day of the third lunar month. The festival will take place at the Hung Kings Temple National Historic Site in Phong Chau Commune, Viet Tri City, and other locations throughout Phu Tho Province in northern Vietnam.

 The Hung Kings Commemoration Day honors the great achievements of the Hung Kings, the legendary founders of Van Lang, Vietnam’s first state. Photo: Bao Dan toc

This annual celebration commemorates the Hung Kings, the country’s founders, and serves as a reminder to Vietnamese people both domestically and abroad of the significance of unity and solidarity.

The Hung Kings Anniversary is divided into two components this year: worship rituals and festivities.

The worship rituals include a ceremony commemorating the death anniversary of Great Father Lac Long Quan and Great Mother Au Co, which will be held at the Hung Kings Temple National Historic Site on April 14th; the Hung Kings Incense Offering Ceremony, which will be held at the same site on April 18th; and various incense offering ceremonies honoring the Hung Kings, which will be held at various locations in Phu Tho Province until April 18th.

The festivities, which are part of the “Phu Tho Culture Tourism Week 2024” event, will feature a variety of unique cultural activities to promote Phu Tho Province’s tourism potential, according to Nguyen Dac Thuy, Director of Phu Tho Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

On April 16th, the Hung Kings Temple National Historic Site will host a traditional cake-making competition featuring Banh Chung (square glutinous rice cake) and Banh Day (round glutinous rice cake) to honor the Hung Kings; an art exhibition showcasing Phu Tho’s landscapes and people will run through April 18th.

 The contest of making traditional Chung cakes (square glutinous rice cakes) and Day cakes (round glutinous rice cakes) to worship the Hung Kings. Photo: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times

Additionally, the “Viet Tri Live Music” street music program and evening cultural activities will continue until April 17th at Van Lang Park in Viet Tri City.

From April 13th to 17th, the Hung Kings Temple National Historic Site will host folk performance programs featuring bell dance, Khen dance, gong performance, and Phu Tho Xoan singing performance – a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Furthermore, the OCOP products fair in Phu Tho Province will be held from April 12th to 18th at Hung Vuong Square in Viet Tri City.

Notably, an art performance and aerial fireworks display will be staged at Van Lang Lake on the evening of April 17th.

Celebrated in the third month of the lunar calendar, Hung Kings Anniversary is one of the most significant holidays in Vietnam to commemorate and pay tribute to the Hung Kings, the legendary founding fathers and first rulers of the nation. The anniversary, which falls on the tenth day of the third month of the lunar calendar, began as a local holiday but has been recognized as a national holiday since 2007.

Visitors to the Hung Kings Anniversary Festival in 2023. Photo: To Quoc Newspaper

Hung Kings is the title given to the ancient Vietnamese rulers of the Hong Bang period (2879-258 BC).

Legend has it that the eldest son of Lac Long Quan and Au Co was made king. He named the country Van Lang and established the capital at Phong Chau (now Viet Tri City), thus initiating the 18 reigns of the Hung Kings. The kings selected Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to conduct rituals dedicated to the rice and sun deities, praying for bountiful harvests.

To honor their great contributions, a temple complex dedicated to the kings was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, and the tenth day of the third lunar month is designated as the national commemoration day for the kings.

According to local historians, the era of the Hung Kings was a pivotal period in Vietnamese history. It laid the groundwork for Vietnamese culture and nationalism. Vietnamese people believe they all descended from the same mother, Au Co’s magical egg. All Vietnamese people share a common ancestor. The Hung King worship ritual was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity List in December 2012.

Phu Tho Province anticipates welcoming one million visitors for the occasion.