Giong festival in Hanoi, one of the most notable festivals in Vietnam, has been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of the world by UNESCO. This is a great occasion for Vietnamese people to show their respect to national heroes as well as patriotism to their country. So, coming here, tourists can widen their knowledge a lot about Vietnamese history and culture.
I. History of Giong Festival
Saint Giong is one of the greatest heroes and fiercest warriors who defeated the Chinese invader successfully in the past. According to legendary, when he was small, he could not speak or smile. But when he heard the news about the Yin coming to attack his country, he ate a lot and grew up quickly. After a few months, he became a giant and valiant man.
Before leaving, he asked the king for a long sword and an iron horse. He tried his best to defeat the enemy in the battle, protect the land and the people. After that, he climbed to Soc Son mountain and flew into the heavens.
To commemorate and show gratitude to Saint Giong, the local people then made a temple to celebrate festivals each year.
II. When Do Giong Festivals Happen?
There are 2 celebrations of Giong Saint annually. The first one is held in Phu Dong Temple and the second one is held in Soc Temple. At Phu Dong Temple, the time starts on the 8th and 9th day of the 4th lunar month while at Soc Temple, the time begins from the 6th to 8th of the 1st lunar month.
III. Celebration and Activities
Depending on the place you want to visit, you will have a chance to enjoy different types of activities and celebration.
1. Giong Festival at Soc Temple
Soc Temple takes place in Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Hanoi. This is the place where Saint Giong ascended to heaven. Some days before the festival, there is a special ritual with lots of offerings. Then, people clean Saint Giong’s statue on the next day and prepare everything well for the main day.
On the 7th day, there will be a number of fun activities such as traditional singing performances and gleeful folk games in the festival. And they are held after the sanctification of Saint Giong.
2. Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple
Phu Dong is the birthplace of Saint Giong. Therefore, the festival here is celebrated a little bit bigger than the one at Soc Temple. All the people in this village will carry flags to Mother Temple and salted egg-plants as well as boiled rice to Upper Temple.
Additionally, villagers will take part in the folk stage to demonstrate the play of Saint Giong’s fight against the Yin. There will be the attendance of 28 guys and girls imitating the battle. The sound of gongs and drums will describe every change of the movements in the battle. Besides ritual activities, people also hold a lot of folk games for residents and visitors to participate in.
When the festival comes to an end, a sign of rain is considered as the nenefiction of Saint Giong for local people to have a year full of prosperity.
IV. How to Get There?
It is super easy to get to Giong festivals, especially if you are staying in Hanoi, Vietnam. You can catch a bus to reach the temples. Or you can rent a motorbike or car. The roadways in Vietnam now are modernised a lot, which makes it much easier for tourists to visit their intended destinations.
V. Tips and Tricks
There are some tips for you to consider before coming to visit Giong festivals. First, when going to Giong festivals, you should always follow the rules on the streets. Second, if you tend to walk up into the statue, try to prepare lightweight stuff along with water, food and comfortable shoes. Finally, bring a cap in case it is too hot in the summer.
Giong festival is worth a visit if you want to discover more about Vietnamese culture. So, let’s make a plan, pack your luggage and come to visit Giong festival in Hanoi as soon as possible!