Thay Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, is a popular tourist destination.
Located on the stunning Sai Mountain in Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, about 20 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, the special national relic appears tranquil in the hazy mist.
Every year, from the fifth to the seventh day of the third Lunar month (from April 24-26), the lively Thay Pagoda Festival is held in honor of Tu Dao Hanh, a revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk who lived from 1010 to 1225.
The Thay Pagoda Festival this year falls from April 24 to 26. Photo: Duy Khanh/The Hanoi Times
The Thay Pagoda Festival consists of two parts: the ceremonies and the folk performances, featuring a wide range of ancient worship rituals passed down from generation to generation.
The Moc Duc or “statue bath” with fragrant water boiled from five kinds of leaves is considered the most important ritual performed by the respected elders of the area.
To show the villagers’ respect for Tu Dao Hanh, the Zen master’s tablet is dressed in a Buddhist robe.
The palanquin procession ceremony is performed by villagers from the four hamlets of Da Phuc, Thuy Khue, Sai Khe and Khanh Tan in Sai Son commune, starting from the courtyard of Thay Pagoda to Go Thien.
Visitors to the Thay Festival can also experience the reenactment of rural daily life and production, participate in folk games such as human chess, swinging, blindfolded pot banging, and tug-of-war, and enjoy traditional cultural and artistic performances, including water puppetry and UNESCO-recognized quan ho (love duet singing).
The three-day festival attracts a large number of Buddhist followers, locals, and foreign tourists.
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