Every year, on 12th of January, three villages: Dao Nguyen, Ngu Cau and An Ha in An Thuong commune, Hoai Duc district, Hanoi holds traditional festivals to acknowledge the great merit of town Gods. The festival is imbued with cultural identity of countryside from Northern delta.
According to ancient document, the An Ha village in the past worshiped Do Thien family. He is a former officer under Thuc Phan An Duong dynasty. In 214 BC, when Tan enemy invaded our country, Mr. Do Thien, his two wives and 9 children take part in fighting against the invaders. After winning Ling Nam area, the King opened the festival to congratulate and knight for his family. After that, his family is honored as Town God of Dun communal House by villagers.
According to village record, the Town God of An Ha village is Miss Do Thi Bao, daughter of General Do Thien. After victory of invaders, she was knighted “Huyen Vu Princess” now still has her ancestral tablet at communal house.
The ritual part of festival takes place solemnly including palanquin procession and incense offering ceremony. Especially, the festival of An Ha communal house is the procession from communal house to the temple. Due to city transportation, the procession is held every 5 years.
The procession contains 5 palanquins, each is carried by 20 young men. 5 palanquin includes: Saint palanquin for ancestral tablet, literature palanquin, flower palanquin, truncated cone of sticky rice palanquin and incense palanquin. When coming to the temple, palanquins will placed. Representatives of village elders organize the holy sacrifice and incense offering ceremony. In afternoon, villagers on two sides of road also make altars for holy sacrifice outside their house.
The festival part includes folk games as: “cheo” singing, human chess, etc. involves crowd of people.
We can say this is one of the special festivals of Northern delta region. It’s bearing cultural values of Vietnamese villages that need to be preserved and promoted.
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