Phu Day Festival

Vietnam festivals - Phu Day FestivalTime: From the 1st to the 10th day of the third lunar month, the main festival day is on the 3rd day of the third lunar month.
Place: Phu Day, Kim Thai Commune, Vu Ban District, Nam Dinh Province.
Objects of worship: Princess Lieu Hanh – the Holy Mother.
Characteristics: The procession of the Holy Mother, Chinese character forming game, hau dong (seance – typical ritual of the tradition of worshipping Holy Mothers of the Viet).

Phu Day Temple is located in Kim Thai Commune, Vu Ban District, Nam Dinh Province. From Nam Dinh City, one can reach Phu Day by car for 15 km. One can also reach it by train. The station is two kms from the temple.

The temple is dedicated to Holy Mother Lieu Hanh who is one of four immortal gods in the Vietnamese pantheon. The legend of Holy Mother Lieu Hanh is sung from one generation to another throughout the country, from the north to the south, from the delta regions to the mountainous areas of the country. It was believed that Phu Day was in the center of the homeland.

In the minds of Vietnamese people, the Hung kings are the ancestors, Holy Mother Lieu Hanh is the mother and General Tran Hung Dao is the father. The Vietnamese community is considered a family that has the same ancestors, father and mother.

Phu Day Festival is held every year from the 1st to the 10th day of the third lunar month, but the main day of the festival occurs on the 3rd. On the 6th day, people organize a procession that escorts �the Mother� from Tien Huong Temple to Goi Pagoda and a festival in which people stand in the shape of Chinese Characters on the 7th day. Those are the most typical activities of the festival.

Marching in the van of the procession is a group of old women holding Buddhist pennons. They are followed by four teams of dragons, young men and women with eight weapons in their hands, a group of monks telling their beads.

Following the monks are seven palanquins. The Mother – the first�s palanquin is carried by eight girls in red costumes, Mother the second�s palanquin carried by eight girls in green costumes and Mother the third�s by eight girls in white costumes. A group of people carrying the belongings of the Holy Mother on their heads goes after the palanquins. The last are representatives and pilgrims. A Chinese character forming game that held on the 7th day of the third month is a unique performance of the festival. Participants have to practice so that they can stand in ranks in such a way as to forge Chinese characters �Mau nghi thien ha� (A woman whose virtue makes her the mother of the nation), �Thien ha thai binh� (Peaceful World), when they hear the signal from the flag commander.

A unique cultural and religious activity at the Phu Day Festival is hat van and hau bong. This is a combination of music, singing, dancing and worshipping that is a typical ritual of Holy Mother Cult. During the festival, various games and entertainment activities are held such as tuong (classical opera), cheo (popular opera), xam singing performances, wrestling, tug of war, cockfighting and chess playing.

Phu Day Festival is also a market fair where people sell local products.

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