The cultural elements of Vietnam are deeply rooted in the worship of the Hung Kings, the tradition of preparing square sticky rice cakes and pounding round sticky rice cakes as offerings to ancestors, and the performance of Xoan singing.

The Hung Kings’ Death Anniversary is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month, commemorating 18 generations of the Hung Kings, Vietnam’s national founders. This significant event, held nationwide, celebrates the legacy of the Hung Kings and their impact on the spiritual realm of the Vietnamese people, both at home and abroad.

Nguyen Tien Khoi, Chairman of the Phu Tho Historical Science Association, emphasized the gratitude of the Vietnamese people towards the Hung Kings. This reverence has been passed down through generations, leading to the construction of temples on Nghia Linh Mountain for descendants to pay homage. Khoi stressed the importance of honoring one’s roots, citing the proverbs “When drinking water – remember the source” and “When eating fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.” UNESCO has recognized the Hung Kings’ worship belief as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity, encouraging other nations to embrace ancestor worship.

The Hung Kings’ worship is prevalent not only in Vietnam but also among Vietnamese communities abroad, serving as a way to maintain, inherit, and promote their cultural identity.

Associate Professor Bui Hoai Son, a member of the National Assembly Committee for Culture and Education, stated, “The belief in the Hung Kings is an unyielding force in the hearts of every Vietnamese. It fosters a sense of unity and patriotism, both within our borders and beyond.” Son mentioned the global Hung Kings Commemoration Day as an example, noting its role in connecting Vietnamese people worldwide to their ancestral land.

The Hung Kings’ Temple Festival includes the tradition of preparing Chung Cake and pounding powder to make Giay Cake.

Chung and Giay Cakes, crafted from rice and beans, symbolize Heaven and Earth. The square Chung Cake represents the Earth, while the round Giay Cake signifies the sky.

The Vietnamese people observe the custom of wrapping and cooking Chung Cake and pounding Giay Cake as offerings to their ancestors.

Pham Thi Hoang Oanh, Deputy Director of the Hung Kings’ Temple Historical Relic Site in Phu Tho Province, explained that the tradition of preparing Chung Cake and Giay Cake on the Hung Kings Commemoration Day reflects the Vietnamese proverb ‘Drink water – remember the source’.

“This ceremony revives a cultural practice dating back to the Hung Kings’ founding of the nation. The square Chung Cake and round Giay Cake embody the aspirations of all Vietnamese for unity and national prosperity,” according to Oanh.

A performance of Xoan singing at an ancient Xoan guild in Phu Tho Province (Photo:

Performances of Xoan singing, an ancient art form dating back 2,000 years, are presented by artisans of historical Xoan guilds at cultural sites in Phu Tho Province, including Lai Len Temple, Thét communal house, Hung Lo ancient communal house in Hung Lo Commune, and An Thai Communal house in Phuong Lau Commune, Viet Tri City.

Recognized as a unique cultural heritage of the Phu Tho people, Xoan singing has its roots in communal houses. Legend suggests that Xoan singing originated as a spiritual worship ritual during the Hung Kings’ era.

Various events will be organized, such as an exhibition showcasing documents and artifacts related to the intangible culture of Xoan singing and the Hung Kings’ worship belief. Additionally, Xoan singing performances will be held in ancient villages connected to cultural heritage destinations.

The cultural values celebrated on the Hung King’s death anniversary define the identity of the Vietnamese nation and contribute to the world’s appreciation of Vietnam’s cultural heritage.