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Hanoi: Thay Pagoda Festival to take place this month
Jenna Duong 10:56, 2024/04/11
Visitors to the Thay Pagoda Festival, which will take place from April 12 to 16, can join holy rituals and lively traditional folk games.

Many cultural activities will be organized in the district in mid-April to celebrate the recognition of the Thay Pagoda Festival as a national intangible heritage, including the Thay Pagoda Festival and the Quoc Oai District 2024 Culture Tourism and Trade Promotion Week.

 The Thay Pagoda Festival falls on April 12-16. Photos: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times

This series of cultural events begins with the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Certification Ceremony for the Thay Pagoda Traditional Festival. The event will include a vibrant art show with the theme "Unlocking the Heritages of Quoc Oai District", featuring a modern light and sound performance combined with Vietnamese folk arts.

Located in Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, about 20 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, Thay Pagoda is a special national relic that stands serenely in the hazy mist atop the stunning Mt. Sai.

Every year, from the fifth to the seventh day of the third lunar month (from April 12 to 16), the Thay Pagoda Festival, the largest festival in old times in "Xu Doai" (the sacred land with rich cultural values) in Son Tay Town, is held in honor of Tu Dao Hanh, a revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk who lived under the Ly dynasty (1010-1225).

 The Statue Bathing Ritual at the Thay Pagoda Festival. 

The festival consists of ceremonies and folk performances featuring a wide range of ancient worship rituals passed down from generation to generation. The highlight of the festival is the Moc Duc or Statue Bath Ritual, which takes place on the main day of the festival (the seventh day of the third month in the lunar calendar). The ritual is performed by the respected elders of the area as a sign of the villagers' respect for the monk Tu Dao Hanh.

Master Tu Dao Hanh, as the locals called him, was also a physician and mystic who healed the impoverished sick without asking for payment. He taught the villagers cultivation and the art of water puppetry, which is now an integral part of Vietnamese culture.

Meanwhile, villagers from the four hamlets of Da Phuc, Thuy Kue, Sai Khe, and Khanh Tan in Sai Son commune perform the palanquin procession ceremony, starting from the courtyard of Thay Pagoda and passing through all four hamlets.

 Thuy Dinh or Water Temple in Thay Pagoda of Quoc Oai District, Hanoi. 

Thay Pagoda Festival-goers will have the chance to experience the fantastic water puppet shows depicting locals’ daily life and production; participate in folk games such as human chess, swinging, blindfolded pot banging, and tug-of-war; and enjoy traditional cultural and artistic performances, including UNESCO-recognized quan ho or love duet singing.

In addition, the 2024 Quoc Oai District Culture-Tourism and Trade Promotion Week will be held at the Thay Pagoda, with 150 booths introducing and promoting culture, tourism, culinary products, and handicraft village products to serve visitors.

Visitors can also enjoy "The Quintessence of Tonkin" art show - a captivating blend of water puppetry, live performances, traditional music, and light shows.

According to Nguyen Truong Son, Chairman of Quoc Oai District People's Committee, the series of cultural events aims to honor cultural values and the traditional Thay Pagoda Festival, build the image of Quoc Oai as a "safe - friendly - quality - attractive" tourist destination, and foster the local tourism industry.

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