Hung Kings Worship – A Source of Strength for the Nation

It became a great significant cultural event of Vietnam when “The Worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho” was officially recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO. It is the first time the custom of worshipping the ancestors of a nation was honoured by UNESCO, thus adding another precious heritage to the cultural treasures of humanity.

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On the evening of April 13, 2013 the ceremony of receiving UNESCO certificate recognizing “The worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho” as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind was officially held at the Hung Kings’ Temple Historic Relic Site in Phu Tho. Addressing the event, State President Truong Tan Sang emphasized that for the Vietnamese people the Hung Kings are the founders of the first state of Vietnam and the ancestors of the entire Vietnamese people. The Vietnamese people are always proud of having the same “Dragon-Fairy” race. The ritual has become a cultural identity and a traditional moral standard of the Vietnamese. It shows the gratitude of the offspring owed to the founders in the national construction and development cause.

The ceremony of receiving the certificate recognizing “The Worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho” as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO is held in Phu Tho Province. Photo: Nguyen Khang – VNA

Reintroducing the Worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho at the ceremony of receiving the certificate. Photo: Thanh Tung – VNA

The folk festival is held on a street in Phu Tho Province on the occasion of the Hung Kings’ Festival. Photo: Thanh Tung – VNA

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           According to statistics, Phu Tho Province alone has 181 relic sites dedicated to worshipping the Hung Kings, the kings’ family relatives and their commanders, while the figure is 1,471 nationwide.

He also said that as a spiritual rite to pray for peace and prosperity for the country, the practice of worshipping the Hung Kings also reminds the Vietnamese of constantly consolidating their unity and protecting and helping one another in different circumstances. Despite experiencing ups and downs in history for thousands of years, the custom of worshipping the Hung Kings has been steadily handed down from generation to generation, making a contribution to nurturing the soul and sentiment and fostering the spirit of the whole nation. It has also generated a source of strength for their offspring to overcome any difficulties and challenges in national building.

For this reason, every year on March 3 of the lunar calendar, millions of the Vietnamese people both at home and abroad without discriminating ages and religions flock to the ancestral land in Phu Tho to show their gratitude and respect to the national ancestors.

According to the evaluation of experts from UNESCO, there are many countries in the world having the custom of worshipping ancestors or national founders. However, only a few countries like Vietnam where the entire people of different ethnic groups both at home and abroad share the thought of having the same national ancestors and original source. That shows the fact that the heritage has an outstanding global value and promotes the awareness of the gratitude to ancestors in many countries in the world as well as the common awareness of respecting the cultural diversity in the community.


The leaders of the Party, State and Phu Tho Province and others offer incence to the Hung Kings. Photo: Hoang Ha – VNP

People offer incenses at Thuong Temple in the national worship. Photo: Hoang Quang Ha – VNP

Offerings to the Hung Kings. Photo: Trinh Van Bo – VNP

The flag team symbolizes 100 sons of mother Au Co and father Lac Long Quan on the Hung Kings’ death anniversary. Photo: Trinh Van Bo – VNP

On March 3 of the lunar calendar, tens of thousands of people nationwide flock to Nghia Linh Mountain
in Phu Tho Province to attend the Hung Kings’ Death Anniversary. Photo: Ngo Du – VNP

Thus, having existed for thousands of years, the custom of worshipping the Hung Kings and ancestors imbued with the national culture identity and humanity of only the Vietnamese has been recognized and honoured by the world.

Story: VNP – Photos: VNA & VNP