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|PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc offers incense to commemorate Hung Kings at the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site on Nghia Linh Mountain in the northern province of Phu Tho on April 25, 2018. Photo: VOV|
Ruling the country through 18 generations (2879–258 BC), the Hung Kings taught locals how to grow wet rice. They chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for lush crops.
The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings are closely related to the ancestral worship traditions of most Vietnamese families, an important part of people's spiritual life. It was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
Viet Tri city, which was the first capital of Viet Nam under the Van Lang administration, still owns many archaeological and historical relics related to the Hung Kings’ reign.
Annually, millions of people converge on the Hùng temple at the Nghia Linh mountain in Phu Tho province to commemorate their ancestors and pray for good weather, abundant harvests, good luck and good health.
The largest ceremony, the Ancestral Anniversary festival of the Hung Kings, is celebrated for about one week at the beginning of the third lunar month. People from surrounding villages dress in splendid costumes and compete to provide the best palanquin and most highly valued objects of worship for the key rite in which drums and gongs are conveyed to the main temple site.
Communities make offerings of rice-based delicacies such as square cakes and glutinous cakes, and there are verbal and folk arts performances, bronze drum beating, Xoan singing, prayers and petitions.
Secondary worship of Hung Kings takes place at sites countrywide throughout the year. The rituals are led and maintained by the Festival Organizing Board – knowledgeable individuals of good conducts, who in turn appoint ritual committees and temple guardians to tend worship sites, instruct devotees in the key ritual acts and offer incense.
The tradition embodies spiritual solidarity and provides an occasion to acknowledge national origins and sources of Vietnamese cultural and moral identity.