Millions of people across the country annually flock to the
sacred Nghia Linh mountain in the northern midland province of Phu Tho on the
anniversary of the death of the Hung Kings, which falls on lunar March 10, to
pay tribute to the legendary national founders.
The worship ritual originates from ancestor worship rituals in Vietnamese
families and has become a significant cultural festival for the people. It helps
to link the past and the present and foster strong sentiments of Vietnamese
people for their families and country.
The ritual is significant in the mind of Vietnamese people as it confirms that
they have the same father and mother. The origin reminds Vietnamese to always
unite, love and protect each other.
It is said that Hung Kings taught people how to plough and grow rice and granted
vitality to land, houses, trees and livestock.
Therefore, the worship ritual demonstrates the moral saying, “When drinking the
water, remembering its source”.
In recent times, more attention has been paid to the Hung Kings worship ritual.
According to the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, about 20 percent
of temples, communal houses and shrines relating to the ritual were destroyed by
time, war and weathering.
The community has requested the restoration of the sites for this important
festival, as well as related festivals and sacrifices.
Nguyen Ba Khiem, Deputy Director of the Phu Tho Department of Culture, Sports
and Tourism, said many villages have voluntarily contributed money and human
resources for the restoration of worship sites.
In several villages, the elders have themselves collected legends on the Hung
Kings and given them to researchers and heritage officers.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also established a data bank on the
Hung Kings Temple Festival to serve research and restore related customs which
had almost been lost.
Pho Tho province continues its work on completing a dossier on the Hung Kings
worship ritual to seek UNESCO recognition as a World Intangible Cultural
Heritage of Humanity.
The province has also launched an action plan to protect and develop the worship
Under the plan, Phu Tho completed an inventory of the ritual in the province and
expanded the inventory to other localities nationwide and Hung Kings worship
sites in foreign countries.
The locality also collected and conducted research on ceremonies and customs
relating to the ritual while supporting teaching about the ceremonies for future
The province successfully organised a seminar on ancestor worship ritual in
modern life and Hung King’s worship ritual in Vietnam , bringing together over
400 scholars from the US , France , Japan and China and nearly 100 domestic
Nguyen Xuan Cac, Director of the Hung Kings Relic Site, said the anniversary of
the death of the Hung Kings and the Hung Kings Temple Festival are held annually
with the aim to build and develop a modern Vietnamese culture with national
In an effort to preserve the ritual, the National Cultural Heritage Department
and the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies have coordinated with the
Ministry of Education and Training to add Hung Kings worship ritual legends into
school curricula at all levels.