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Tien Cong Festival - A unique procession festival in Quang Yen town

Wednesday, 22/01/2020 | 11:34:41 [GMT +7] A  A

Recognized as national intangible cultural heritage since 2018, Tien Cong temple festival welcomes thousands of locals and visitors each year.

Tien Cong Shrine
Tien Cong Shrine

Annually held in the town of Quang Yen on February 16 (or the seventh day of the first lunar month), this is one of the biggest traditional festivals of Quang Yen town aiming at commemorating the 17 founding fathers who built dykes, created the populated island.

The legend said that the festival opening day was the day founding fathers discovered underground fresh water on the island, more than 500 years ago.

At Tien Cong Temple, dignitaries present themselves to the founding fathers, and then choose four elderly men to assist them in the ritual of ground-breaking.

The procession attracts the participation of numerous locals and tourists.
The procession attracts the participation of numerous locals and tourists.

On the seventh day, the senior men of the village (all older than 70 years old), along with their children and grandchildren, arrive at the temple. The young people carry offerings (include betel and areca, wine, steamed glutinous rice, chicken or the head of a pig) on their heads to the decorative cult tables. The elderly men follow them, if need be, aided by their offspring.

Every family makes its own procession. All processions join together near the temple make a jubilant and animated atmosphere but still sacred. The old men present offerings and worship Tien Cong, the ceremony generally ends at noon.

All processions join together near the temple.
All processions join together near the temple.

After that, comes the ground-breaking ritual. The four chosen men pick four balls of earth and build a mock dyke in front of the incense table of the founding fathers. They then perform acts of wrestling to represent the “struggle against nature”. This is to continue the cause of those who built dykes on the sea to protect the villages and hamlets of the island.

After the ground-breaking ritual are traditional games namely buffalo fighting, cock fighting, human chess, swinging, popular opera performance, etc. Tien Cong temple festival welcomes thousands of locals and visitors each year.

Translated by Phuong Loan