Worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ

Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2011 Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
Annually, millions of people converge on the Hùng temple at Nghĩa Lĩnh mountain in Phú Thọ province to commemorate their ancestors and pray for good weather, abundant harvests, good luck and good health. The largest ceremony, the Ancestral Anniversary festival of the Hùng Kings, is celebrated for about one week at the beginning of the third lunar month. People from surrounding villages dress in splendid costumes and compete to provide the best palanquin and most highly valued objects of worship for the key rite in which drums and gongs are conveyed to the main temple site. Communities make offerings of rice-based delicacies such as square cakes and glutinous cakes, and there are verbal and folk arts performances, bronze drum beating, Xoan singing, prayers and petitions. Secondary worship of Hùng Kings takes place at sites countrywide throughout the year. The rituals are led and maintained by the Festival Organizing Board – knowledgeable individuals of good conducts, who in turn appoint ritual committees and temple guardians to tend worship sites, instruct devotees in the key ritual acts and offer incense. The tradition embodies spiritual solidarity and provides an occasion to acknowledge national origins and sources of Vietnamese cultural and moral identity.