(VOVworld) - The worship of the Hung Kings has been practiced for thousands of years on the 10th day of the 3rd Lunar Month. It’s an important ritual in Vietnam’s cultural life, reminding Vietnamese people of their roots and consolidating unity for national construction. The worship, reflecting typical Vietnamese cultural and moral values, has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
According to legend, the northern province of Phu Tho, thousands of years ago, was the place where the Dragon Father and the Fairy Mother got married. They gave birth to a pouch containing 100 eggs which hatched to produce 100 children. The eldest child became King. He built his capital there and named his Kingdom Van Lang. Phu Tho province is today seen as the Vietnamese people’s ancestral land and the place of origin for the Hung Kings’ worship.
Hung Kings’ worship appeared early in history. A stone pillar erected on Nghia Linh mountain in the reign of King Thuc Phan – also called An Duong Vuong - from 257 – 208 BC records that under the witness of Heaven, the Vietnamese people pledged to worship at the Hung Kings’ temple forever and defend the country handed down to them by the Hung Kings.
Down through the centuries, each generation acknowledged the importance of the Hung Kings and their great role in founding the Vietnamese nation. Professor Ngo Duc Thinh, Director of the Vietnam Belief Culture Research and Preservation Centre, says: “Worshiping the ancestors is a tradition of the family and clan. In Vietnam, it has developed into a worship of the Hung Kings, the founders of the nation. Many dynasties, including the Dinh, Le, Ly, Tran, and Nguyen, upheld the tradition of worshiping the Hung Kings. In the present revolutionary period, we still honor that tradition of worship. Worship of the national ancestors was transcended time, regimes, and political differences to become the highest goal of the nation.”
The worship of the Hung Kings since the nation’s early days demonstrates the Vietnamese people’s commitments to upholding traditional cultural and spiritual values. Professor Thinh again: “The festival commemorating the death of the Hung Kings helps to preserve the nation’s age-old cultural traditions. And according to UNESCO, it reflects Vietnam’s humane tradition of being grateful to our ancestors.”
These days, particularly on the 10th day of March on the lunar calendar when the main ritual takes place, the Hung Kings temple is packed with people from around the country who come to pay tribute to the founders of the nation. This year’s celebration will be especially joyful because the worship has been recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity. Katherine Muller, UNESCO’s Chief Representative in Vietnam, says: “This celebration is the reminder of how important solidarity and unity is to this country, how important it is to recognize the value of diversity united by one single origin, one single blood relationship resulting from the love between Au Co, the young and beautiful fairy and Lac Long Quan, the Dragon King from the sea. May this belief hold this nation forever and guide its people to coexist sustainably while preserving and promoting culture diversity.”
State President Truong Tan Sang highlighted the importance of the Hung Kings’ death anniversary in nurturing the soul of Vietnam and unifying the Vietnamese people throughout their history. Sang said: “Honoring the Hung Kings not only is a spiritual act to pray for peace and prosperity but also reminds each one of us to unite and help one another because we all share the same roots. The worship of the Hung Kings has been practiced for thousands of years, helping to consolidate national unity and strength to overcome challenges and move forward.”
The Hung Kings’ death anniversary has a special place in the hearts of close to 90 million Vietnamese people at home and 4.5 million more overseas, and its value will continue to be a source of strength, helping Vietnam advance in the new era.