Last update: 11:56 | 12/03/2018
VietNamNet Bridge – A series of cultural festivities are being held across the central coastal province of Nghe An during the first month of the lunar new year, of which the fish-worshipping festival at Con Temple in Quynh Luu District is one of the highlights.
One by one: Marching along beach is one of the events at the Con Temple fish-worshipping festival. — VNA/VNS Photos Ta Chuyen
Con Temple is believed to be the most beautiful place where the fish-worshipping festival is held, including many sacred traditions, local residents and authority officials have said.
The Con Temple fish-worshipping festival is a very special cultural and historical event in Nghe An, which has been preserved by local people and fishermen in Hoang Mai Town for hundreds of years with the hope of welcoming a new year of prosperity and safe fishing at sea, as well as health and happiness.
Currently, Hoang Mai Town has nearly 500 fishing boats, more than 5,000 sea fishermen and thousands of other local people performing inland work such as purchasing and processing fish products.
This year, Hoang Mai authorities organised the two-day temple festival on January 20-21 of the lunar calendar, or March 7-8 of the solar calendar, with many activities featuring the life and work of fishermen in the coastal countryside of Nghe An Province.
The festival begins in the very early morning with crowds of people gathering at the main temple to perform the feast. They offered incense and prayed for their fishing ancestors to support them in the coming fishing season. After that, they began marching to the beach adjacent to the two communes of Quynh Lien and Quynh Phuong to focus on the major activities of fish-worship.
Attendees banged gongs and drums, accompanied by young people cheering and carrying a palanquin towards the sea.
The young, most of whom are the strongest fishermen, tossed the palanquin over the high waves and chanted local slogans. The noise contributed to a sense of excitement for the participants.
When people were marching towards the beach close to the temple, a team of fishermen conducted ritual praying for good weather, safety and luck.
The ritual praying ended after a group of young fishermen tried to plunder the worship items and distribute them to others.
This act was traditionally meant to show the fishermen’s desire for fortune, health and prosperity in the new year.
Nothing fishy: As part of the Con Temple fish-worshipping festival, young people carry a palanquin towards the sea.
In parallel with the inland march, eight fishing boats decorated by the fishermen were also dispatching sailing towards the sea under the direction of the president of the fishermen’s union. The boats were sailing at a distance of 50 metres from each other, from the main temple to the sea and back again.
Bui Van Chinh, 70, an old fisherman from Quynh Phuong Ward said he and his relatives participated in the festival every year as it was a very important spiritual activity in their profession.
“The festival at Con Temple is one of the most important ritual activities for my family and others because it strengthens our belief in our ancestors’ support for our career.” said Chinh.
To Huy Hung, vice chairman of Hoang Mai Town’s People’s Committee and chief organiser of the festival, said Cờn Temple was one of the most sacred shrines in Nghe An Province thus it attracted thousands of visitors.
The visitors also joined in with locals at the festival, Hung said.
They offered incense and admired the traditional fishing culture of the people of coastal Hoang Mai Town, he added.
Con Temple, honouring the four thanh nuong (goddesses), was built in the 12th century under the Tran Dynasty, and was developed in the Le period, before undergoing significant restoration under the Nguyen Dynasty.
The cultural authorities of Hoang Mai Town are actively promoting local people to preserve the traditional culture of the Con Temple festival, at the same time making it central to tourism development, according to a local authority official.