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Mass procession of “live king” in Hanoi

The 'King' sits o­n a palanquin and carried by healthy young men in the family from the Sai temple in Dong Anh district, Hanoi to the communal house of Sai village. To clear the way for the King, the young people who join the procession sometimes shout and sway the palanquin.

Sai Temple is located o­n top of the That Dieu Son Hill in Thuy Loi village, Thuy Lam commune, Dong Anh district, Hanoi. The temple still retains the original statue of Huyen Thien Tran Vu. According to legend, when King An Duong Vuong builds the Co Loa citadel, fairies assist the construction each night. However, devils fake the cock-crow so the fairies return to the heaven early. As a result, the construction cannot finish.

Huyen Thien Tran Vu destroys the devils in That Dieu Son so the construction of Co Loa citadel completed. Huyen Thien Tran Vu was then worshiped in the Sai Teple. Many kings of the next generations came here for worshipping but these trips were costly so the king allowed locals to organize the processing of a fake king. Every year, the procession of the "live king" takes place o­n the 11th of the first lunar month.

Each year the villagers choose an elderly to play the king, another to play the lord and four top mandarins. This year, Mr. Ngo Tien Kha, 72, had the honor of being the king. Early in the morning, Mr. Kha wore imperial mantle to go to the communal house to make rituals.

Before the procession, the palanquin was carried from the communal house to the Sai Temple. At 1pm, the procession of the King and the Lord began.

Preparing for the official ceremony, the "King" has to do sacrifice rituals in the Thuong temple in 90 minutes. The "King" and the “Lord” sat o­n palanquins which were carried by healthy young men. Meanwhile, the "Lord" performed the rituals at the Sai Temple, then walking to the Thuong Temple to pick up the "King."

He then cut off a white chicken and made three cuts, using a wood sword, to a rock and poured chicken blood into the rock to symbolize the declination of the devils. In the procession, sometimes young men who carried the palanquin of “Lord” ran very fast and shouted to clear the way for the "King."

Source: Hanoitimes

Vietnam Travel Company, Vietnam Travel Agency




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