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Feb 17, 2024 / 10:30

Hanoi's Saint Giong Festival underway

One of Hanoi's most fascinating and historic events, the festival is a tribute to Saint Giong, one of Vietnam's four immortals.

These days, many people flock to the Special National Monument of Soc Temple in Hanoi's outskirts, Soc Son, for the Saint Giong Festival, which began on the sixth day of the first lunar month and lasts until the ninth day.

The Saint Giong Festival, one of the most important festivals in Vietnam, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in November 2010.

Legend has it that Saint Giong was an infant from Hanoi's Phu Dong village who helped bring peace to the country by defeating the Chinese invader An in the 6th Dynasty.

To commemorate the legendary hero, the people sanctify him as Saint Giong and hold an annual festival to show their gratitude to the one who sacrificed his life to free the country.

The procession at the festival recreates people offering bamboo flowers, paper elephants and horses and other supplies to support Saint Giong's fight. Photos: Trong Tung/The Hanoi Times

Bamboo flowers are offered to Saint Giong and then presented to visitors.

A paper elephant is offered during the ceremony.

A team of marchers carries a tray of betel and areca to offer to Saint Giong.

A paper horse is offered during the ceremony.

Domestic and foreign researchers have rated the Saint Giong Festival as unique among Vietnam's 7,000 traditional folk festivals with special cultural and religious values.

The festival features traditional rituals and various folk games, including stilt walking, balancing a bridge, Chinese chess, human chess, cock fighting and cooking competitions.