Phu Dong (Phù Đổng) festival

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Thanh Giong (Thánh Gióng) festival is called also festival of Phu Dong (Phù Đổng) village (popular name is Giong village). This is one of the largest festival of the the North Delta, a big scene of history – culture represents the legend of the victory of Thanh Giong before the invaders An (Ân).

From Hanoi, to come to Phu Dong village, it is necessary to pass through Gia Lam (Gia Lâm), follow the 1st national towards Bắc Ninh province, all right to Duong (Đuống) bridge. After the bridge and 7 km towards the right, it is the destination. One can see, from the dyke, the Thuong (Thượng) temple, a rather monumental temple, the former architecture. It is the place of worshiping Thanh Giong – celestial King Phu Dong. The books in the temple say that little Giong was born after his poor mother of Gióng village, once in the field, finding mark of a big foot, she tries it his foot and is pregnant when back to home. This little one, that says nothing nor laugh, asked the king, before the invasion danger of the country, to produce a horse in iron, an arms in iron and a cuirass in iron and gets up as a giant, after eating seven wide flat baskets of the rice and three others of egg-plant, jumping on the horse, carrying the arms and use the whip, the bamboos of village to hunt the invaders. The invaders driven out, Gióng rides horse to the Sóc mount. He left there the arms and the cuirass, flew with the horse in the sky.

The history is an unending subject of the heroism of Vietnamese young people: low age but high will, ordinary but extraordinary, always ready before danger of the country and again unknown inhabitants after hunting the invaders.

The temple architecture makes known that it is constructed from the XI century under the Ly (Lý). Each year, April 9th lunar calendar, (the victory day of Gióng on the invaders An), the inhabitants from all corners come to celebrate the feast in this village.

The Giong village festival is celebrated on a big scene of 3 km long composite of Thuong temple, Mau (Mẫu) temple (consecrated to Giong’s mother) and Kien So (Kiến Sơ) pagoda. The festival begins April 6th. During these days, the villagers celebrate the ceremony to accompany the flag to the Mau temple and the vegetarian rice (rice with egg-plants – preferred dishes of Gióng) to Thuong temple. The day D (April 9th), this is the ceremony to transport in hammock from Mau temple to Thuong temple and reorganize the war (imitating the victory on the invaders An). The 10th, this is the ceremony of review troops in honor of Giong. The 11th, the ceremony of washing the weapons, the 12th the ceremony of accompanying the flag to inform to sky and earth the victory… at last, this is the ceremony of regaling fighters and the folk opera the night. Besides the principal festival in Phu Dong village, certain places celebrate also Giong festival: Sóc temple festival (Xuan Dinh(Xuân Đỉnh )commune, Tu Liem (Từ Liêm) district), Soc Son (Sóc Sơn) festival (Soc Son district), Phu Giong (Phù Gióng) festival; Bo Dau (Bộ Đầu) festival…

Among all the festivals in Hanoi, the Giong village one is organized on the most monumental spread. This is a good occasion for the participants to see the rites of a festival system with the well prepared and serious, very artistic and symbolic activities. In same place, each has the occasion to feel the multilateral relation between the village and the country, the individual and the community, the past and the present, the reality and the imagination, the sacred and the world, all is safeguarded as a cultural good to transmit to the descendants.