Hung King festival – A traditional Vietnamese festival you won’t want to miss
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Vietnam is a nation of festivals. At any time of the year, you can always find a festival or celebration somewhere in the country. Joining a festival is the great way to experience indigenous culture. Besides, it is fun! So why not take Vietnam festival tours on your next visit.
The spring or three first months of the lunar calendar is the festive season with many festivals taking place throughout Vietnam. Hung King Festival is one of the most important festivals in Vietnam, which gathers thousands of people. This is voted as one of the top things to do while you are in Vietnam. Get a close insight into this festival by reading this article from vietnamtravelreviews.
What is it about?
Hung King Festival commemorates Hung King – the very first king of an independent ancient Vietnam which was Van Lang at that time. Hung King was not a single King but a dynasty with 18 generations who all took the titles as Hung.
The first Hung King came to the throne in 2879 BC, ruling the territory that is now North of Vietnam and part of Southern China. The reign of Hung King ended after Thuc Phan invaded the country.
In 2012, the worship of Hung King was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Where is it?
The main activities of the festival take place at Hung King Temple in Phu Tho Province, the capital city of Van Lang (a former name of Vietnam).
The Hung Temple was built during the 15th century, consisting of three levels (the lower, the middle and the upper). In fact, the temple is situated on a 175m high mountain with three temple levels located from the foot to the top of that mountain. After many renovations through centuries, Hung temple now is a complex of different temples and pagodas in the middle of a thousand-year-old national forest.
Hung King upper temple (Source: Internet)
When does it occur?
The main festival day is on the 10th of March in Lunar calendar when all Vietnamese have a day off work. It falls at the same time as most of Vietnam festivals (January to March). However, the celebration starts a month before that.
How to get there
Attending the Hung King Festival is definitely worth to be included in your visit to Vietnam because of its unique cultural values and ease of access.
From Hanoi, it takes about 3 hours driving to get to Hung King Temple. You can catch a coach to Viet Tri City (city of Phu Tho) and tell the driver to drop you off the gate to the temple. However, it is more than 2 km from the gate to the main entrance but don't worry there are taxis, “xe om” (motorbike taxis), and electric tourist cars available. Taking a short walk there is also a good option. The path offers a stunning scenery with rice fields on both sides.
Another way of getting here is to rent a private motorbike or car from Hanoi. Be noticed that there is neither a domestic nor international flight to Phu Tho.
Hung King Festival (Source: Internet)
What to do
Take a short hiking from Lower Temple to Upper Temple: with the high of 175 m, Hung King Upper Temple is perfect for hiking. The ancient trail has been turned into a stone stair making it easy for everyone. The mountain peak overlooking the city of Viet Tri, provides a magnificent view and relaxing fresh air.
Visit the temple of Au Co Mother and Lac Long Quan Father: 1 km away from the core zone of Hung King Temple Complex is a place to worship mother and father of Hung King as well as the ancestors of all Vietnamese people. The legend has it that Au Co was a beautiful fairy and Lac Long Quan was the descendant of a dragon. They met, fell in love, and got married. Au Co gave birth to a bunch of eggs which later hatched into the 100 first people of the Vietnamese race. Hung King is the eldest son of Au Co and Lac Long Quan. Both temples represent a typical architectural design of ancient Vietnam.
Sticky rice cake making competition (Source: Internet)
Joining festival activities and fork games: at the main day of the festival (March 10), thousands of people from all over Vietnam converge here to pray. There will be a parade in which tributes are taken to each temple. They are the best products dedicated to the honorable king of the nation. During the festive time, lots of games mostly traditional games are organized such as cockfighting, sticky rice cake making competition, and dragon dancing, etc.
Visit the 6th Hung King’s tomb: it is a stone tomb, east of Upper Temple. The tomb is there from the beginning of time, stand still over time. In many renovation projects, there is no change to the tomb and the vestiges of Hung King are still in there. Every Vietnamese person who ever comes to the temple must visit the tomb and burn incense like a greeting to the great king.