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Oversea Vietnamese: Hearts turn to ancestral land during big holiday
Although living far and wide, on the Hung Kings’ Anniversary or major national holidays, overseas Vietnamese always cast their hearts and eyes for the homeland, with fervent faith and love.

Vietnamese people show deep gratitude towards their origins and ancestors by celebrating the Hung Kings Anniversary, also known as the Hung King Temple Festival, every year on the tenth day of the third Lunar month.

On the occasion of this year's celebrations which fall on April 10, overseas Vietnamese from afar also dedicate a moment of remembrance to the nation's founding fathers. The Hanoi Times has talked with some to understand more about their thoughts.

Peter Nguyen (Nguyen The Phuong), Vietnamese expat in the US

Peter Nguyen (left) and relatives visited Hung Temple on a trip back to Vietnam

Leaving Vietnam for the US as a 23-year-old young man, now having my own family here, I’m still emotionally attached to my homeland. This time every year, I always observe the Hung Kings' Anniversary, a great and important occasion in the country.

In 2013, during a trip together with a group of expatriates to Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, I visited a Buddhist temple there and came across an Uncle Ho's immortal phrase engraved in the wall: “The Hung Kings had the merits of building the country, you and I must defend the country together”. I felt extremely moved.

The Hung Kings are the Holy Ancestor and Phu Tho (hometown of Hung Kings) is the holy land of Vietnam. In 2019, when my family and I had the chance to hear the story right at the Hung King’s Temple in Phu Tho, I was very touched.

I understand and believe that, for every Vietnamese, old or young, there is a deep, clear sense of responsibility. Most Vietnamese people learn that phrase by heart to understand the basic values of the nation.

I also often tell my children about Vietnam, especially historical and cultural stories - they were all born and raised in the US, and always curious about their origins.

Besides holidays like the Anniversary of the Hung Kings, in 2010, we returned to Hanoi and celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long, joining the flows and vitality of Vietnam and the capital.

For me, despite living the past 47 years abroad, I always keep in mind that I am Vietnamese, and I must not forget my roots. On occasions like these, that thought takes deeper root in my mind.

Truong Long Vu, Vietnamese student in South Korea

Long Vu took a photo outside a shop on a Seoul's street  

This is my 3rd year in South Korea. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have not been able to visit my home for the past two years.

Although the Korean and Vietnamese cultures share many similarities, it is only in Vietnam that the anniversary of the national ancestors is celebrated. On occasions like this, I feel greater nostalgia for my homeland.

When I was in Vietnam, the Hung Kings' Anniversary was always a special day for me. Mom would make an offering tray of dishes to worship the ancestors, and then the whole family would gather to cheerfully enjoy food and drinks.

This was also a time for me to rest at home and recharge myself after days of studying at school.  

For those who are far away from home, I hope that, despite living in countries with different cultures, they will still always remember the unique culture and holidays of Vietnam.

Dao Lam Phong, Vietnamese student- University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

Lam Phong is a first-year university student in Halle, Germany

This is my first year away from my family and my hometown, so the memories of the Hung Kings’ Anniversary in particular, as well as big national holidays like Reunification Day on April 30 or National Day on September 2, are still intact in my mind.

Since I have to go to school in Germany as usual these days, I feel homesick and miss the meetings back then with my teachers and classmates before the celebration.

For a foreign language specialized school like my high school, such holidays are even more important, because the teachers and all of us are aware that most of the graduates from here will pursue higher studies abroad.

On the days before the holiday, we often rehearsed plays, read poetry or perform small skits on the topic of the Hung Kings and national heroes in various foreign languages.

On the days leading to the commemoration day, we staged a play on the topic, in order to remind us of the great merits of the Hung Kings and national heroes, who built and defended the country.

Now wherever we go, we still remember those fond memories, as well as the history lessons taught by the teachers in such an interesting and inspirational way. Each generation of us students, after graduation, carries in our hearts a national pride, a burning fire, a great motivation to overcome all difficulties and challenges.

On the occasion of the Hung Kings’ Anniversary this year, the weather in Germany suddenly changed into something like “Lady Ban’s cold snap” in Vietnam. It’s freezing, with snow falling in the middle of spring so the loneliness and homesickness grow day by day. I can only talk with friends in chat groups, together we recall beautiful memories and encourage each other to overcome difficulties and challenges.

I want to say that no matter how far we go, we international students always cast our hearts and eyes for the Fatherland! Our families, teachers and friends there are always looking forward to our success! And beloved Vietnam, we will try our best,
“going far is for returning later”!

Tram Pham, Vietnamese expat in Canberra (Australia)

Tram Pham is now studying Information Technology in Canberra, Australia 

When in Vietnam, I was very excited about the Hung Kings’ Anniversary, simply because we would be off work. Now living far away from home, I still feel the excitement, yet together with a completely different emotion. That is nostalgia. I miss my home, my family and friends, Vietnam’s shops and streets. Maybe only expats can truly understand such feeling.

I live in Canberra, Australia, where the Vietnamese community is not as large as in Sydney or Melbourne. Life here is quieter and less vibrant than in Hanoi. Maybe that's why I sometimes crave the atmosphere in my hometown, especially on big holidays.

Life is hard for immigrants, and finding a job is difficult due to the language barrier. For my own future, I’ve had to work hard and accepted to start over. I decided to start by studying a major I had never thought of - Information Technology.

After completing this demanding major, I started looking for a job, but it was not easy at all. I still have to be optimistic and keep trying to gain a foothold in society. I want to stand firmly in this new homeland, to deserve to be of the Lac Hong - Hung Kings bloodline.


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