Do Temple Festival

Vietnam Festivals - Do Temple festivalTime: The 15th day of the third lunar month.
Place: Dinh Bang Village, Dinh Bang Commune, Tu Son Town, Bac Ninh Province.
Objects of worship: Eight kings of the Ly Dynasty.
Characteristics: The procession of palanquin from Dan Pagoda (Co Phap) to the temple, barbecued buffalo used as sacrifices – offering.

The festival takes place from the 14th to the 16th days of the third lunar month. Legend has it that the 15th day of the third lunar month was the coronation of King Ly Cong Uan. Later generations chose the day as a common festival to pay homage to kings of the Ly Dynasty.

According to customs in Dinh Bang Village, a chief officiant appointed to administer the festival. The person then presents himself to the genie in a set of solemn rituals and votive offerings including a drum, a platter of betel, and a small bottle of wine.

Residential groups, mass organizations and local authorities administer the festival. Pieces of work are assigned according to ages and kinds of person. On festival days, they have to fulfill their assigned tasks.

On the 14th, preparatory work finishes. Those appointed for such posts as the King’s bodyguards (the tuong), flag holders or palanquin carriers have prepared their costumes and equipment. Others have to clean the road, pagoda and temple.

The palanquin procession takes place on the afternoon of the 14th day, starting from Do Temple to Dan Pagoda, where prayers will be read. This ritual aims to take kings Ly to the place where the founder of the dynasty was born and grew up and pay gratitude to those who brought him up and gods and Buddhist spirits at the pagoda. After that, the king’s mother is taken to the temple for the coronation.

On the early morning of the 15th day, the procession returns from Dan Pagoda. By then, it is accompanied by another palanquin and altar representing the king’s mother. On the way, the procession drops at Dinh Bang Communal House. The festival manager enters the house to do presentation rituals in front of the village’s tutelary god. After that the procession continues on its way back to the temple.

When the procession arrives at the temple yard, dragon-dancing starts, followed by senh tien castanets dancing. Next, three men in the role of the king’s bodyguards, enter the dragon yard. The two palanquins are placed alongside the yard: the one carrying the king’s mother on the right and the other carrying the king on the left. The chief officiant steps into the main sanctuary and reads King Ly Thai To’s edict on the movement of the capital to Thang Long. After that, he puts the document on the main altar. Then he starts the incense offering and festival inauguration rituals. Others follow him to do the incense offering.

On each of the 15th and 16th, there is a ceremony solemnly held with votive offerings.
There are a lot of fun games during the festival: cock fighting, chess playing, and cheo and tuong performances. Fun activities take place in the temple yard, pond, and other places in the region, attracting a lot of visitors from elsewhere.

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