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Thousands make pilgrimage to Yen Tu Mountain

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Thousands of people are flocking to the Yen Tu Spring Festival, the largest annual festival in northern Vietnam, which began Sunday in Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province.

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Crowds: There were 50,000 visitors to Yen Tu on the first day of the 2018 Yen Tu Festival, the tenth day of lunar new year. —  Photo Doan Tung

The festival, considered one of the largest pilgrimage events in Vietnam, opened with a water procession ritual held by hundreds of Buddhist practitioners, art performances, lion and dragon dances, as well as a ceremony to pray for peace and prosperity for the country and its people.

This year, the festival is being held in the newly launched Truc Lam Cultural Centre, covering more than 15ha. The festival is the first in a series of cultural events in celebration of the 2018 Ha Long-Quang Ninh National Tourism Year in Quang Ninh Province.

Doan Thi Xuan, 74, from Bac Son, Uong Bi City, noted, “I go to Yen Tu Festival almost every year. This is an important tradition of pilgrimage for locals and an opportunity for us to commemorate the great Buddhist King Tran Nhan Tong and pray for good things in the new year. At this age, I just wish for health for myself and my whole family.”

Ly Kim Anh, a 28-year-old banker from HCM City who visited the Yen Tu Festival for the first time, said, “My colleagues and I made a one-week trip to the north to mostly visit pagodas and temples here. Making pilgrimages in the new year gives me peace of mind.”

“Visiting the Dong (Bronze) Pagoda on top of Yen Tu is also an interesting experience, though it is a bit tiring,” Kim Anh added.

The walkway from the foot to the top of Yen Tu mountain is about 6km. It takes some six hours to reach the top, weaving through the wild forest. A cable car has been available for visitors, yet many complained they still had to climb quite far to reach the cable car station.

About 50,000 people were expected to visit Yen Tu on Sunday, along with 230,000 people expected to visit Yen Tu during the first ten days of the new year, according to the Yen Tu Relic Management Board.  

Yen Tu Spring Festival, pilgrimage, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Fluid: The water procession was held in the Truc Lam Cultural Centre on Sunday morning. —  Photo Doan Tung

                       

Major sites on Yen Tu Mountain, including the Dong Pagoda, Hoa Van Pagoda, Mot Mái Pagoda, and Tower Garden, Statue of Tran Nhan Tong, were crowded with local worshippers.

At about 11am on Sunday, a very large number of people came to Dong Pagoda, on top of the mountain, both by cable car and on foot, which led to serious congestion on the path to the pagoda.

“It tooks more than three hours to finish the 500-metre climbing route from the cable car station to Dong Pagoda,” said 60-year-old Tran Van Duong from the northern province of Hai Duong.

Yen Tu Mountain, located about 50km from Ha Long City, is surrounded with scenic landscape and ancient pagodas. This sacred mountain is where King Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308) abdicated his throne and founded Truc Lam Zen. It is considered the capital of Vietnamese Buddhism.

To date, Yen Tu remains a great treasure of Buddhist culture for the Vietnamese people, dating back 700 years, with dozens of pagodas and hundreds of temples, as well as thousands of ancient relics which contain spiritual values of Truc Lam Zen. The pagoda was recognised as a Special National Relic Site in September 2012.

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Behold: The 2018 Yen Tu Festival kicked off on Sunday with an art performance. —  Photo Doan Tung

New structures featured

The locality has built new structures to welcome festival goers. Nuong Village, located in the cultural centre, is one of them.

The site resembles an ancient village in the foot of Yen Tu Mountain during the Tran Dynasty. About 50 houses, surrounded by two streets, have been completed. There is also an area for exhibiting the culture of the Dao ethnic minority people, as well as agricultural tools used by the Vietnamese people in the village.

A communal house stands in the centre of the village where different types of traditional folk art are performed, such as cheo (traditional operetta), xam (blind buskers’ singing) and quan ho (folk love duet singing).

Nuong Village displays the features of an ancient village from the Tran Dynasty with buildings constructed of wood, terracotta and bricks. Nearby each house grows fruit gardens, containing pomelo, tamarind, mango, as well as betal trees.

A museum about Buddhist King Tran Nhan Tong is located in the cultural centre, providing insights about the king through three main stages in his life – when he was born and grew up; when he was a king and led the country against the invasion of the Mongols; and when he left the royal palace to lead an ascetic religious life and founded the Truc Lam Zen sec.

The festival will continue until the third lunar month. 

Source: VietNamNet

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