Hung King Festival


The Vietnamese nation was founded by Emperor Hung Vuong nearly 50 centuries ago. The dynasty, with 18 kings, lasted for some 3000 years and led Vietnam to development and progress in peace. To honor the Founding Fathers, the Hung Vuong National Altar was built in 250 BC in Phu Tho (north Vietnam), and since been one of the most popular sites in the country. On the lunar tenth of March, tens of thousands of Vietnamese have traditionally come to the Hung Vuong National Altar to commemorate their ancestors. This cultural practice has only been neglected during periods of foreign domination or severe oppression, when freedom of expression, worship, and assembly have been restricted.

The Hung kings also pushed ahead the promotion of diplomatic ties with China in an effort to better ensure the independence of Van Lang. (On two occasions, Hung kings appointed ambassadorial delegations to visits of good will to China. Chinese annals acknowledged that at one time, the Bach Viet King from the South offered through a visiting delegation a giant turtle to Emperor Ti Yiu and at another time a white pheasant to Emperor Tcheou Chen Kwan.

Hung kings’ outstanding achievements resulted not only in the founding of Viet Nam of yore as a nation but also in the establishment of well- defined institutions, administrative, social and economic which made up a civilization of the Viets own, entirely different from that of the Chinese.

Many people beliveve that the origin of Hung kings largely remains the product of Viet Nam’s legend. However, vestiges of the Hong Bang Dynasty such as the Hung kings’ Temple in Phu Tho (North Viet Nam), the agricultural implements made of stone discovered in Son Tay, Vinh Yen, Bac Giang (North Viet Nam) and what was recorded in the Chinese Annals of the Bach Viet (100 principality) kingdom, South China are evidences to the fact that “the Viets of the prehistoric age did inaugurate a monarchical dynasty which lasted for 18 generations under the Hung Vuong appellation” as several Vietnamese historians put it.

Every year, on this traditional occasion, March 10th of the Lunar calendar, Vietnamese people worldwide join their brothers and sisters in spirit to observe Vietnam National Day in commemoration of their ancestors. This day of observance also promotes the restoration of Vietnam’s traditional values. The Festival lasts from the 9th to the 131h of March, with March 10 being the main day. The festival offers an opportunity for Vietnamese to visit their land of origin, and involves, among other things, a procession of traditional cakes (“Banh Chung”, “banh day” – a rice pie…), “Xoan” folk song contest, bronze drum beating, etc…

This picture is King Hung Temple in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam.