Worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Country(ies): Viet Nam
- Worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ
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.
Decision 7.COM 11.36
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: The worship of Hùng Kings includes ceremonies, offerings, pilgrimages and a range of performances in more than a hundred villages in Phú Thọ Province and elsewhere in the country; this practice provides a sense of reverence for ancestors that in turn enhances the feeling of pride and social cohesiveness;
- R.2: Inscription of the worship of Hùng Kings on the Representative List could contribute to the recognition of the importance of ancestor worship in many other countries, thus encouraging communities to recognize commonalities while promoting respect for cultural diversity;
- R.3: A series of safeguarding measures including research, education, promotion, and awareness raising are supported by the budget of the State and local authorities and aim to ensure the viability of the practice; they also respect the sacredness of the ritual and customary restrictions on access to certain aspects;
- R.4: Representatives of villages, communes and districts as well as members of Festival Management Boards have taken an active part in the preparation of the nomination and they have expressed their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The worship of Hùng Kings in Phú Thọ has been included since 2010 in the inventory of the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on the basis of consultation with communities of thirteen districts of Phú Thọ;
Inscribes the worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2011 Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
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