Value of Vietnam Heritage Promoted

10:19:57 AM | 5/25/2016

Hung Kings worship custom has officially been recognised as the seventh intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam by the world. Vietnam’s file for “Hung Kings’ worship” was well appreciated because it was stated clearly that the heritage’s value was showing reverence for the nation’s ancestors. Besides, the longevity and vitality of the custom as well as the active involvement of the community have helped elevate the heritage’s value.
Hung Kings worship tradition associated with the ancestral customs that are deeply rooted in Vietnamese family life, long before the appearance of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and other religions in Vietnam. Thousands of years ago, the Hung Kings chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest mountain in the old capital Van Lang, to perform religious rituals honoured by the agricultural population at the time. From that religious centre on Nghia Linh Mountain, Hung Kings worship traditions had progressively spread to other cities and provinces of Vietnam. By worshipping the Hung Kings, Vietnamese people honour the nation.
As Vietnam has been further developing and integrating into the world, Vietnamese generations promote stronger and more pervasive that spirit. Every year on the 10th of the third lunar month, hundreds of thousands Vietnamese travel to the Hung Temples to pay respect to the Hung Kings. With this meaning, Hung Kings worship tradition has remained and developed in the modern life of the Vietnamese community and become a characterised religious practice of the people.
However, the meaning of Hung Kings worship tradition in Vietnam is not confined in paying gratitude to founders of the country, but has been expanded and elevated into a form of religion to the people of Vietnam.
According to statistics of Phu Tho province, the country has nearly 1,500 places used for the worship of the Hung Kings, their wives and children, as well as significant figures in the era. The number is still increasing.
Since honouring ancestors is a tradition of Vietnamese people, not only those who are living on the S-shaped land but also many overseas Vietnamese come to Hung Temples to ask for a handful of soil near the tomb, a little water from the Jade well and incense’s roots from Hung Kings incense bowls to take abroad to pay their respect from afar. In many parts of the country, the people can’t afford to build a temple but on the10th of the third lunar month, every house and every Vietnamese people remember the nation’s founders and offer incense to show their respects.
Out of the seven recognised intangible cultural heritages so far, it can be said that Hung Kings worship custom has the most powerful vitality, and also has the greatest potential for development. Unlike other heritages that involve regional factors, Hung Kings worship custom transcends regions, genders or age. It is inherited and developed by generations of Vietnamese whether living on the fatherland or faraway.
In order to preserve, develop and popularise these characteristic heritage values of the country, the Centre for Research and Development of Hung Kings Culture has been established with main responsibilities including conservation and popularisation, research and development of the culture. Its duties are to study the culture of Hung Kings Era, the intangible and tangible values, human values and humanity in the Van Lang civilisation, the glorious history of national construction and defence, the national pride in inheriting and promoting national identity and cultural preservation; providing scientific and technology services, consultation and assessment of the conservation of Hung Temples as well as cultural values of Hung Kings era.
The Centre’s operation aims to educate young generations about historical traditions, encourage patriotism of Vietnamese people in the cause of developing and defending the Fatherland. Currently, the centre has been campaigning for the construction of Hung Kings’ Temples in some areas such as Hung Kings Temple and Tower in Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang, Temple for Hung Kings and Vietnamese saints in district island Truong Sa, Khanh Hoa.
Thanh Nga