Tien Cong Temple Festival

7th day of the 1st lunar month

   The Tien Cong Temple is located in the village of Cam La on Ha Nam Island, yen Hung District. It is devoted to the cult of the founding fathers, who built the dikes that created the populated island of today.

    Every year, the festival begins on the 7th day of the 1st lunar month, which according to legend was the day, over 500 years ago, that the Fouding Fathers discovered an underground spring on the island.

   For the occasion, dignitaries present themselves to the founding fathers at the Tien Cong Temple, who then choose four elderly men to assist them in the ground-breaking ritual.

   On the 7th day, the senior men of the village (all older than 70 years old), along with their children and grandchildren, arrive at the temple. The young people carry offerings (include betel and areca, wine, steamed glutinous rice, chicken or the head of a pig) on their heads to the secorative cult tables. The elderly men follow them, if need be, aided by their offspring. Every family makes its own procession. All processions join together near the temple make a jubilant and animated atmosphere but still sacred. The old men present offerings and worship Tien Cong (Founding Fathers), the ceremony generally ends at noon.

   Then comes the ground-breaking ritual: the four chosen men pick four balls of earth and build a mock dike in front of the incense table of the founding fathers. They then perform acts of wrestling to represent the :struggle against nature”. This is to continue the cause of those who vuilt dykes on the sea to protect the villages and hamlets of the island. Afterwards, the party lasts into the night.

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