Va Temple Festival
The festival in Va Temple include the spring festival is on the 15th day of the first lunar month and the Autumn festival is on the 15th day of the ninth lunar month.
In the minds of Vietnamese people, Duc Thanh Tan (the Mountain Genie) is a sacred patron saint who drives out evil spirits and brings good things to people. Va Temple festival is annually held in the full moon of the first lunar month (spring festival) and of the ninth lunar month (autumn festival) to celebrate his services rendered to society. Every three years, the festival is organized with a large scale. Those are the years of the Mouse, Cat, Horse and Rooster.
In the years of the Mouse, Cat, Horse and Rooster, the festival has a ritual of water procession performed by Di Binh villagers of Vinh Thinh Commune, Yen Lac District, Vinh Phuc Province. Early in the morning of the 15th of the first lunar month, Di Binh residents row a boat to the middle of the Red River. On behalf of the villagers, an old man of great righteousness and generosity gets water from the river and pours into a china jar. Thereafter, they make a water procession to Va Temple, and then offer it to the deities. The big Va Temple Festival begins in the 13th with numerous activities. A palanquin procession of eight hamlets takes place in the morning of 14th. About 1 or 2 a.m, old men perform a traditional ceremony. At 3 a.m, two temple guardians bring the tablets of the Mountain Genie, Saint Cao Son and Saint Quy Minh to the main palanquins. Thirty-two strong young men with the same height carry the palanquin. Four others hold fans and two hold parasols. They are followed the palanquins carrying the textual materials that tell the stories of the deities, costumes and hats of the deities, and offerings of the hamlets.
The palanquins are taken down to the boats. When the procession reaches the other bank, the palanquins are carried to Doi Temple. In the temple, a small pig of 30-40 kg is placed on the altar of the Mountain Genie as an offering. The notable men perform the rituals, called mÃÂ´c duc ritual, symbolizing the act of providing a bath to the Mountain Genie. Traditional games are organized on the sandbank, which attract a lot of participants. In the evening, the procession comes back to Va Temple. The palanquins are placed in front of the main house. During that night, they hold the traditional rituals.
On the 15th day, pilgrims offer incense and fruit to the Mountain Genie at the temple. There also take place many traditional games such as wrestling, tug of war.
The festival begins on the 14th of the ninth lunar month. On that day, the inhabitants of Van Gia, Nghia Phu, Thanh Tri, Mai Trai, Dam Trai Hamlets gather at the Tich River (the section from Thuong Cau Vang to Ha Ma Mang) to catch fish. Those who catch white, big fish have to hand in the village to present the Mountain Genie, and bring home the small ones. The fish catching game ends when they have enough 99 big fish. This festival is known as da ngu (catching fish).
Anyone who catches big fish thinks that the Mountain Genie will bring him an auspicious year. Ninety-nine fish are cleaned and cooked into various dishes to offer the Mountain Genie as a way to pay homage to the Genie. At the end of the ceremony, people enjoy fish dishes. The festival ends.