Annually held after Tet (Tết) Holiday at An Duong Vuong (An Dương Vương) temple located in Dong Anh (Đông Anh) District, on the outskirts of Hanoi, Co Loa Festival (lễ hội Cổ Loa) worships the King An Duong Vuong who built the Co Loa Citadel and the Au Lac (Âu Lạc) Kingdom.
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The Legend Of the King An Duong Vuong And His Magic Crossbow
The Co Loa Festival is based on the legend of the King An Duong Vuong and his magic crossbow given by a Golden Tortoise, Genius Kim Quy (Kim Quy). The King used this crossbow to kill tens of thousands of enemy soldiers and made success in defeating the Chinese army. General Trieu Da (Triệu Ðà) who is unable to fight in weapons had to make peace and send his son Trong Thuy (Trọng Thủy) to Au Lac.
Trong Thuy came to Au Lac and succeed in making king An Duong Vuong’s daughter fall in love and winning the trust of the king that made him become the close adviser to the king. Although he loved his wife, Trong Thuy never forgot his mission: steal the magic crossbow that helped the king An Duong Vuong fight the battle.
One day, the King’s daughter – Trong Thuy’s wife My Chau (Mỵ Châu) told the secret of the magic crossbow to Trong Thuy. That created the chance for Trieu Da to conquer Co Loa in 208 B.C. The Genius Kim Quy told the king the reason for his defeat, King An Duong Vuong had to kill this daughter My Chau and then committed suicide.
Nowadays, Co Loa Citadel has remained many vestiges that remind you of the legend of King An Duong Vuong’s magic crossbow.
What Happens During Co Loa Festival
Co Loa Festival in Hanoi Capital City takes place from 6th to 16th of the Lunar New Year. Therefore, if you visit Co Loa at this time, you will have a great opportunity to experience and learn more about the Co Loa Festival that is organized by 12 hamlets of the village.
In the early morning, a splendid and solemn procession takes orations to the Thuong (Thượng) temple and the chief officiant puts the orations on the altar after receiving them. The path to the Thuong temple is lined with eight precious votive things and decorative weapons. There are the ceremonial rites to remember the King An Duong Vuong at the Upper Temple for building Co Loa Citadel and managing Au Lac for 50 years. The worshipping rituals begin with votive offerings like flowers, incense, fruits, truncated cone-shaped cakes, steamed sticky rice, giay cakes, popcorn, and meat. Furthermore, a solemn and imposing procession of 12 palankeens goes around the Trong Thuy Well to the Village gate. In this festival, people also celebrate many traditional activities. The rituals finish at 12 o’clock. In the temple, senior people who represent their communes pray for the prosperity and peace to their villages.
After that, the god is taken from the temple to the communal house, which is the biggest procession with all the palanquins taking part in. The palanquins reach the main entrance Nghi Mon (Nghi Môn) and then return to their village. At the communal house, Co Loa’s palanquin and procession do the same rituals once more. The festival activities continue until the 16th day of the first lunar month with many exciting traditional games and evening fireworks displays such as wrestling, human chess, swings, cockfighting, card playing, tug of war, rope climbing, swing, flag dancing martial arts, and performances of cheo (chèo), ca tru (ca trù) and tuong (tuồng).
On the final day of the festival, there is a grand farewell ceremony held at the temple. People do the same rituals as in the main festival days. When the rituals finish, they return the cult table of god to the sanctuary. Local people can enjoy the god’s favor and pray for a year of prosperity. A thanksgiving ceremony will close this meaningful festival.
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The Co Loa Festival attracts not only the residents from the eight villages but also many visitors and tourists from different areas. I hope that this article will give you useful information. Any questions can be left in the comment section and we will answer them as soon as we can. To know more Vietnam official festivals and exciting activities you can enjoy when you have a chance to visit Vietnam, please don’t hesitate to take a peek at Vina.com.