Hundreds of pilgrims hustled into the crowd to get the lucky branches of bamboo blossoms as the annual Giong Festival kicked off on the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, even though the organizing board had prepared as many as 10,000 ones.
The Giong Festival held at Soc Temple in Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son district officially kicked off with the offerings taken to the Thuong (Upper) Temple on the sixth day of the lunar January.
The three-day religious event is held annually with the most special ritual namely bamboo blossoms offering. They are artificial flowers woven with 50 cm bamboo slats with dyed cotton attached to the tip which symbolizes the Saint Giong horse cane.
After the ritual, the bamboo blossoms are given to pilgrims, complying with the tradition.
This year, the organizing board prepared 10,000 bamboo branches and betel to deliver to visitors from across the country.
At 7.am, the ceremonial procedure was underway with the offering of eight objects in including bamboo blossoms, horse, elephant, ivory, grass, all made of paper, betel, and two palanquins.
The elephant’s ivory offering was derived from a legend that an elephant that missed its owner returned to the village and destroyed the paddy field. It was beaten and shooed by the farmers. However, it turned out that the elephant was owned by Saint Giong’s and the locals then spared the elephant and venerated it.
Nguyen Thi Sau, a pilgrim, said that she attends the festival every year wishing to gain the lucky bamboo blossom to offer to her family’s altar.
The ritual included the palanquin procession of a female general of Yen Lang village (Bac Phu commune). This year, 10-year-old Nguyen Ha Vy was chosen to play the female general. Half of the number of lucky bamboo blossoms were delivered to the villagers while the remainder was distributed to the visitors.
After the ritual ended, people jostled into the crowd waiting to be given the lucky betel and bamboo blossoms. It was estimated as many as 25 thousand visitors joining the festival this year.
Photo by Vnexpress.