The turn of April and May in Vietnam is a time rich in celebrations and holidays related to the history of the country.
May 1 is traditionally Labor Day.
On April 30, we celebrate Unification Day, which, after a long war, has restored hope for a "better tomorrow".
This year we have a weekend break, so days off have been moved to Monday and Tuesday. This resulted in the "long weekend" - 4 days off.
The trip madness took its toll on the roads. The route from Saigon to Vung Tau was completely blocked - the 90 km journey, usually 2 hours, on Saturday was extended to 9 hours ...
On the occasion of the Unification Day, after an almost 3-year break, a fireworks show was held in Saigon.
A little earlier, the festival of the Hùng Kings is celebrated. It is a very important day, especially in the North of Vietnam.
On this occasion, I invite you to a story about the rulers of Vietnam.
Hùng Vương (雄 王) or vua Hùng (𤤰 雄) is the title given to the ancient Vietnamese rulers of the Hồng Bàng dynasty.
The name Hung Vương is a combination of two Sino-Vietnamese words Hùng, which means "brave" and Vuong, meaning "king". The name Hùng Vương could therefore be the title given to the current leader.
According to the sustained narrative, Hùng Vương was most likely the chief commander of the kingdom of Văn Lang, which at that time consisted of feudal rice-farming communities centered in the north of present-day Viet Nam.
According to this narrative, the eighteen Hùng kings belonged to the Hồng Bàng dynasty (ca. 2879-258 BC), which ruled the north in antiquity.
Their ancestors were the Dragon Lord Lạc and his wife the Fairy Au Cơ. Legend has it that she produced a sack containing one hundred eggs, from which one hundred sons emerged. The Dragon Lord Lạc preferred to live in the sea, and the Fairy Âu Cơ preferred the mountains. The couple split up in harmony, remaining with half of their sons following each parent.
The most illustrious of the sons became the first King Hùng to rule the kingdom of Van Lang from his capital in the modern province of Phu Tho. Historically, this moment is considered the beginning of the kingdom of all the descendants of the Dragon and Fairy Âu Cơ who became the same Vietnamese people.
Over time, the cult of the Hùng kings has evolved. Descendants became Mountain Spirits when, with territorial expansion, they migrated south or turned into Whale Spirits when they settled near the sea.
Local communities donated land for the construction of temples as well as a source of income to cover the costs of worship of the Hùng kings.
Interestingly, as late as 1945, the Nguyên Court continued to delegate officials to oversee rituals at the temples of the Hùng kings in Phú Thọ Province.
Historians say that as a result of the mixing of the two currents, the mythographic construction of the state, and the popular animistic cult in the villages, the Hùng kings began to be worshiped in temples throughout the Red River Delta and beyond as the ancestors of the Việt people.
Spreading the myth of the Hùng kings was also facilitated by the use of a specific form of transmission - the verses "lục bát" (six-eight). These were stories disseminated using the local language, in the form of a colorful verse, allowing the story to be easily remembered and passed on.
The festival of the Hùng kings (in Vietnamese: Giỗ Tổ Hùng Vương or lễ hội đền Hùng) is a festival held annually from the 8th to the 11th day of the third lunar month. The main day of the festival - which has been a public holiday in Viet Nam since 2007 - falls on the 10th day of the month.
This year it is April 10.
Each year, leading government figures make a pilgrimage to the temple of the Hùng kings in Phu Tho Province to honor the Quốc tộ (National Founder).
In April 2016, the festival at the Temple of the Hùng Kings in Phu Tho attracted around seven million people.
In 2018, a project entitled Viet Nam's World Ancestors Day was carried out, in which various cultural events were organized around the world on the Hung Kings Memorial Day. This year, for the first time, the World Ancestral Day of Viet Nam was celebrated simultaneously in many European countries according to a common format. Since 2015, one of the three main goals of the World Ancestral Day of Viet Nam Project has been to preserve and spread the cult of Hùng kings among Vietnamese living abroad.
In 2012, the cult of Hùng kings in Phu Tho was recognized by UNESCO as the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, and the UNESCO site notes that this "tradition embodies spiritual solidarity and provides an opportunity to recognize the national roots and sources of Vietnamese culture and identity.
Cheers to all Kings of Viet Nam!