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Celebrating the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival in Vietnam

In Vietnam, Hung Kings’ Temple Festival is a major national holiday. It commemorates the story of Vietnamese origins, celebrates the Hung Kings who helped make Vietnam what it is today, and is a strong reflection of Vietnamese culture.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the Vietnamese Hung King Temple Festival, from its background to modern-day traditions.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Hung King’s Temple Festival?

This day demonstrates the moral “when drinking water, remember its source.” According to legend, Lac Long Quan and Au Co, who are the parents of the Hung Kings, are the ancestors of the Vietnamese people. The Hung Vuong period was a crucial stage in the nation’s history, building the cultural foundation and patriotic traditions of Vietnam.

The Hung Kings’ Temple is actually in Phu Tho Province on Nghia Linh Mountain. The legend of where the temple was built can be traced back to the First King Hung, who visited 99 different locations before moving to Nghia Linh Mountain. When he arrived here, his horse whinnied and he decided that this was an ideal place to build the capital of Vietnam.

2. When is Hung King’s Temple Festival?

Tenth Day of the Third Lunar Month

Each year, the Vietnamese people celebrate the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival holiday on the tenth day of the third lunar month. However, the entire festival is from the eighth to the eleventh day of this month.

For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years:

Start Date End Date
2020 March 31 April 2
2021 April 19 April 22
2022 April 8 April 11
2023 March 29 April 1
2024 April 16 April 19
2025 April 5 April 8
2026 April 24 April 27
2027 April 14 April 17
2028 April 2 April 5
2029 April 21 April 24

3. Hung Kings’ Commemoration Activities and Traditions

Carrying Incense for Hung Kings’ Temple Festival

Most celebrations and traditions for this holiday take place at the Hung King Temple (Đền Hùng) in Phú Thọ province (Phú Thọ). The festival includes a lot of rich cultural activities of Vietnam, such as carrying incense, flower processions, elephant parades, unicorn dances, and more.

On the Hung King Temple Festival, Vietnamese people travel by the thousands to the Hung Kings’ Temple as a pilgrimage, or cuộc hành hương, to their place of origin. The Hung King Temple is an important architectural icon in Vietnam, and the Vietnamese people consider it sacred ground.

Vietnamese people also like to celebrate the holiday with a lavish feast. Hung Kings’ Temple Festival foods include rice cakes and five fruits. This is because, according to legend, King Lang Lieu created bánh chưng bánh dày (”rice cakes” ) and the Hung Kings taught Vietnamese people how to grow rice plants.

If you happen to be in Vietnam during Hung Kings’ Commemoration Day, you’ll also have the privilege of seeing both modern and ancient flags being flown throughout the country.

4. The Dragon and Fairy

The legend of the Hung Kings can be traced to Lac Long Quan, whose name translates to King Dragon from Lac.

According to the Dragon and Fairy legend (Truyền thuyết Con Rồng Cháu Tiên), he had superhuman strength. A nearby king decided to marry his daughter to Lac Long Quan. She became pregnant, but she ended up giving birth to a huge sac with more than a hundred eggs inside of it, all of which hatched into babies. All of those babies are believed to be the ancestors of the Vietnamese.

The oldest son of those babies ended up being King Hung I, the first of eighteen kings in the Hung Dynasty.

5. Essential Vocabulary for Hung King’s Festival

Depiction of the Dragon and Fairy Legend

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for the Hung Kings’ Festival!

  • Phú Thọ — “Phú Thọ province”
  • Bánh chưng — “Chung cake”
  • Ngày Giỗ tổ Hùng Vương — “Hung Kings’ Temple Festival”
  • Văn Lang — “Van Lang”
  • Dâng hương — “Thurify”
  • Ngày mùng mười tháng ba âm lịch — “The tenth day of the third lunar month”
  • Cuộc hành hương — “Pilgrimage”
  • Đền Hùng — “Hùng Temple”
  • Vua Hùng — “Hùng kings”
  • Truyền thuyết Con Rồng Cháu Tiên — “Dragon and Fairy legend”
  • Bánh dày — “Day cake”
  • Đám rước kiệu — “Procession”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Vietnamese Hung Kings’ Temple Festival vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

What are your thoughts on this Vietnamese holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your country? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Vietnamese culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on VietnamesePod101.com:

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