Huong Pagoda Festival is among the greatest Buddhist festival in northern part of Vietnam. Huong Pagoda Festival plays an important role in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people in general and Vietnamese Buddhists in particular. If I remember correctly, this festival brings to mind a Vietnamese legend that I describe below… Have a nice weekend! #MustSeeInVietnam Editor
According to folklore, once upon a time, there was a beautiful and kind-hearted princess named Dieu Thien—the third daughter of King Dieu Trang, Huong Lam Kingdom. However, at the age of getting married, the prince rejected all proposals from other countries and insisted on leading a religious life. The King got very angry and locked her into the backyard of his palace. As the princess’s decision was unchanged, King Dieu Trang sent her to Bach Tuoc pagoda where she went through a wide range of arduous works; still, she completed them all. Getting more and more displeased, the King even set Bach Tuoc Pagoda on fire and jailed the princess into the forbidden palace. However, Princess Dieu Thien was so determined that she overcame all of the above challenges and difficulties. At the end, the King decided to execute his stubborn daughter. Right when Dieu Thien was escorted to the scaffold, Huong Tich Mountain God came in the form of a tiger and saved her.
The princess wake up in the forest and saw a handsome young man approaching her. The man eagerly sent Dieu Thien chatty pick up lines; however, she kept on turning him down. Surprisingly, the guy turned out to be Buddha. He told the princess to practice Buddhist in Huong Tich Cave. After 9 years of ascetic Buddhist practice, the princess got enlightened. She saved the country from the war, protected her parents and sisters from devils. From then on, she was canonized as Goddess of Mercy (Quan Am) and was widely worshipped throughout the country.
Thousands of people flocked to the Huong Pagoda in Hanoi for its annual festival, which began on Friday and will go on for three months.
The Yen Stream near Tro Port was full of boats taking pilgrims to the pagoda in My Duc District.
Around 5,000 boats were arranged for pilgrims. The management of the Huong Son Site, of which the pagoda is a part, said the site is open for tourists from Saturday last week and around 150,000 have arrived since.
Nguyen Ba Hien, head of the management, said: “Electronic tickets are the new feature at this year’s festival. 10 gates have been installed for the electronic tickets. The system scanned the tickets’ QR codes, and it worked smoothly on the first day. There were no sign of fake tickets.”
At 9 a.m., the opening ceremony was held. The festival, Vietnam’s biggest spring festival, would last until April 23.
In 2021 and 2022, due to impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no opening ceremony.
Crowds at the festival.
Tickets to visit the Huong Pagoda, including insurance, cost VND80,000 ($3.41) for adults, and VND40,000 for children. The boat ride to and from costs VND35,000-50,000.
People line up to board a cable car. A return trip on the telpherage costs VND220,000.
On Friday the Huong Son Site received around 40,000 people, according to the festival organizers.
Most pilgrims to the Huong Son Site visit the Huong Tich cave.
People climb a steep stone stair to reach the cave.
The Huong Tich cave is packed with people. Police officers and militia are stationed to maintain order during the festival.
People carry offerings and put them on altars in the cave.
Buddhists pray inside the cave.
Nguyen Van Lam from Bac Ninh Province said: “Before the pandemic came my family would come for the opening day of the Huong Pagoda Festival every year. We come to sightsee and pray for luck.”
People collect water dripping off stalactites for luck.
The Huong Pagoda Festival attracts millions of visitors every year. The pagoda is situated around 60 km from downtown Hanoi.
An article written By Ngoc Thanh for E.VnExpress.net
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