The Hung King’s Temple is located on Nghia Linh Mountain, Hy Lang Commune, Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province, 85 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. Every year, a national festival called Hung King’s Temple Festival is held to worship the Hung Kings, who were instrumental in the founding of the nation.
The festival lasts for 3 days from the 9th to the 11th of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. A day before the festival, ancient and modern flags are to be hung along the road leading from Viet Tri to Hung mountain. A large ballon will also publicise the festival to surrounding areas. On the eve of the festival, 100 flying lights are released into the night sky.
The festival begins with a palanquin procession performed by three villages of Co Tich, Vi Cuong and Trieu Phu. The procession carries bamboo elephants and wooden horses symbolizing the submission of animals to the Kings Hung and the wedding of the Mountain Genie and Princess Ngoc Hoa. Banh chung (square sticky rice cake) and banh giay (round sticky rice cake) are indispensable offerings in the procession in order to honor the merit of the Kings Hung who taught people to plant rice and to remind people of Lang Lieu who invented these cakes.
The worship service is held on the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month and commences with a flower ceremony with the participation of state representatives. Held in Thuong Temple, where the Kings Hung used to worship deities with full rituals, the ceremony is conducted with the traditional rituals representing the whole nation. During that time, the nha to Do Ngai guild performs singing and dancing to welcome visitors.
The children of the Kings Hung throughout the country converge on the temple to offer incense. The procession includes the state representatives, one hundred young men and women in traditional costumes symbolizing children of the Dragon and Fairy and pilgrims.
The procession marches are followed by a Xoan singing performance (a kind of folk song of Vinh – Phu region) in Thuong Temple, ca tru (a kind of classical opera) in Ha Temple, and other activities including bamboo swings, nem con (throwing a sacred ball through the ring), cham thau (beating bronze drum), dam duong (pounding rice).
Hung Temple Festival not only attracts visitors from all over the country because of its special traditional cultural activities, but it is also a sacred trip back in time to the origins of the Vietnamese nation. People usually show their love and pride of their homeland and ancestral land. This religious belief deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen, regardless of where they originate.