The spring festival of Bai Dinh Pagoda takes place since the first day of New Year, officially starts on the 6th day and lasts till the end of the third lunar month. The festival is the perfect start for pilgrimages towards the imperial capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh province.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival
The festival is held to not only worship the Buddha and Gods but also honor many significant historical events related to heroes like Quang Trung, Dinh Bo Linh. This makes the festival more solemn. On the first day of the festival, local people from young to old carry out a colourful procession from the bottom of Dinh mountain to the main pagoda on the top. Villagers spend weeks beforehand preparing the floats and costumes. In the ceremony, many people perform the traditional musical instrument or hold flags.
During the festival, the pagoda are always crowded with many groups of people staying in line to wait for visiting. Both of them cannot hide their eagerness and happiness on their bright faces when they join in the festival.
Coming to Bai Dinh pagoda festival, visitors not only have a chance to experience special atmosphere of the ceremony, visit marvellous scenes, discover Vietnamese culture but also take part in many interesting traditional games such as wrestling, “ ném còn”, tug of war or enjoy local produce displayed in various stalls.
The festival attracts thousands of tourists each year, and what used to be just a small local event has now grown into major tourist attraction and becomes a pride of Ninh Binh’s people as well as Vietnames people in general.
Only by visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda at this time can tourists experience the festival’s wonderful cultural activities—apart from sightseeing which is available all year round. Similar to every other festival in Vietnam, Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival consists of two parts: ceremonies and games. Ceremonies include worshipping Buddha through incense offerings, commemorating Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, giving oblations to God Cao Son, and attending Goddess Thuong Ngan’s audience. This part begins with a procession carrying the three figures’ ancestral tablets from the original temple to the new one. In the festival, Buddhist rituals are operated in the new temple in association with traditional rites from the original one.
On the other hand, entertaining activities of Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival are playing folk games, visiting the entire structures, sightseeing the various caves, and enjoying performances of cheo singing, catru singing and xam singing. Also in the event, stages emulating Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang’s coronation and King Quang Trung’s flag offering ceremony at Dinh Mountain before entering his battle are played.
- Time: 1st to 3rd lunar month
- Purpose: express various beliefs—Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mother Goddess worshipping
- Ceremonial rites: offering incense to Buddha, commemorating Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, giving oblations to God Cao Son, attending Goddess Thuong Ngan’s audience
- Entertaining activities: playing folk games, sightseeing, enjoying traditional music performances
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