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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Vietnam series at VietnamesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Vietnamese holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson # 19 - Huong Pagoda Festival.
The Huong Pagoda Festival, called lễ hội Chùa Hương in Vietnamese, is considered a celebration of the Goddess of Mercy’s journey to the land of the Buddha. This Festival often takes place over the course of three months, starting from lunar January 6 and ending sometime in March.
In this lesson, we will take a look at this Festival and learn some more information about the famous sights there.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Apart from walking and going on boats for sightseeing and visiting the Huong Pagoda, what other means can visitors use to move around?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Each year, lunar January 6th marks the opening day of the Huong Pagoda Festival. This festival slowly develops over the course of 3 months, with the peak period falling from lunar January 15th to lunar February 18th. The Festival atmosphere spreads across the entire Hương Sơn commune. Before the opening day, or ngày khai hội, incense smoke spirals up towards the sky from temples, or đền and pagodas, or chùa and the festival is opened officially with lion dancers to welcome Buddhists and pilgrims.
The main ceremony held on lunar January 6th is more inclined towards meditation and purity than loud celebration. Visitors may witness the incense burning ceremony, or lễ dâng hương, where offerings are very simple, including just flowers, fruits, and vegetarian food. Yet despite the austere simplicity, the festive atmosphere of this day can be felt from the many participants who make the entrance to the Huong Pagoda busy.
People coming to this Festival do so not only to pray for a year of peace, or an lành, and prosperity, or thịnh vượng, but also do so to visit and enjoy the beautiful sights of pagodas, rivers, forests, and lakes. The scenes are very charming, and boost people’s cheer at the beginning of a new year.
Because so many people make the pilgrimage to the Huong Pagoda Festival, services provided by locals such as boat rental, toilets and restaurants have become better and more developed. During the Festival, the prices often increase suddenly, so visitors should negotiate carefully before using these services.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Apart from walking and going on boats for sightseeing and visiting Huong Pagoda, what other means can visitors use to move around?
The State invested in a cable car at this location to make visitors’ journeys easier and less tiring than walking or climbing. However, the cable car system often becomes quite crowded during this time of year.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Are there any pagoda festivals in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at VietnamesePod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!