Hoa Lu Festival – quintessence of the stone capital

Wednesday, 2021-04-28 17:16:22
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The dragon dance at King Dinh Tien Hoang temple during Hoa Lu Festival
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NDO – Every third lunar month, people around the country flock to the traditional Hoa Lu Festival, held in Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district in the northern province of Ninh Binh to pay respect to Kings Dinh Bo Linh and Le Hoan who ruled the first colonial feudal state in Vietnam.

The Hoa Lu Festival has many unique rituals and cultural activities that highlight the life and career of Dinh Bo Linh who was crowned Emperor in 968.

The most unique ritual is the water procession, dedicated to the legend about a golden dragon emerging on the Hoang Long River to bring Dinh Bo Linh (the name of King Dinh Tien Hoang when he was very young) across the river. During the water procession, the celebrant must raise his voice to recite the mantra: “The people and descendants are always grateful to the Golden Dragon of this river for helping the Emperor of Dai Viet who then constructed the Dinh feudal dynasty and reunited the country. May the gods keep the cool water smooth and help the people avoid all evils”.

The five-fruit tray competition

The water procession features the participation of various people, led by a group carrying five-colour flags that are followed by people playing musical instruments. The water is brought from the Hong Long river to King Dinh’s temple to serve the rituals.

The Hoa Lu Festival space spans a large area and is surrounded by many high mountains. When King Dinh Tien Hoang established Hoa Lu as a capital city, he used the mountains to make the citadel and used the rivers as deep trenches; therefore, Hoa Lu was known as the stone capital. Today, Hoa Lu ancient capital still has many traces of the inner city and suburbs, archaeological vestiges surrounding the areas of the King Dinh and Le Temples as well as many other relic sites such as the Nhat Tru Pagoda, Ba Chua palace, Ma Yen mountain, Am Tiem cave and Thien Ton cave. All these traces recall a heroic era of the nation and have become special historical and cultural relics of the country.

Visitors at the cultural and historical relic sits in Hoa Lu

This year’s Hoa Lu Festival features numerous unique programmes including a “Mam Ngu Qua” (five-fruit tray) contest, wrestling competition, cockfighting, boat races, an exhibition of the traditional handicraft products in Hoa Lu, and seminars on the cultural and historic values of the ancient capital.

The festival is considered a “highlight” of the National Tourism Year – Ninh Binh 2021, themed “Hoa Lu – thousand-year ancient capital”.

The annual event is expected to contribute to the tourism development of Ninh Binh province in particular and the country in general.