Hanoi: Chu Dong Tu Festival: from 7 to 9 March 2009

By: Michele De Capitani


The Chu Dong Tu Festival, which attracts every years many pilgrims, as well as tourists coming from all over the world, in meant to remind us of Chu Dong Tu, a very important figure of Vietnamese culture, as he is believed to be the first who introduced agriculture in the Vietnamese society. According to the legend, the third King of the Hung dynasty had a daughter, princess Tien Dung, who, instead of getting married, decided to travel to admire the countryís beautiful sights. During one of her journeys (she travelled above all by boat), she arrived in Chu Xa, the village where Chu Dong tu lived. He was the poor son of a fisherman, and when his father died, he did not want him to be buried naked, and so he decided to cover his corpse with the only piece of cloth that they had in common, remaining in this way undressed. When the boat with the princess arrived, Tien Dung hid under the sand, but Tien Dung, enchanted by the beauty of the place, decided to stop and take a bath there. The water that she poured on herself removed the sand and Chu Dong Tu was discovered. The princess was so impressed by the young manís story, that she convinced herself that he was the man that the fate sent her to be her husband. They got married although the King did not agree: they had to stay where they were (the estuary of a river) and were not allowed to come back to the castle. One day Chu Dong Tu accepted the proposal of a trader to travel to faraway lands, and during one of these journeys he met a monk who introduced him to Buddhism and gave him a conical hat and a stick. Back from this journey, he began to travel again with his wife, and a night, having to sleep outdoors, they sheltered driving the stick into the ground and putting the hat on top of it. After they did that, a reign arose there, and the Hung King ordered that it was laid waste. However, when soldiers arrived, the reign vanished, and the area became a lake.

Many centuries after that, the coupleís story is still recalled through a procession along the river. From Hanoi, visitors can go along the Red River on a boat and reach Da Hoa and Da Trach temples, where every year many pilgrims wearing colourful clothes gather. The procession begins after an opening ceremony, and is animated by some girls wearing colourful clothes, music bands and some palanquins with the statues of Chu Dong Hu and Tien Dung. The procession is headed by two huge dragons supervised by around ten people who move following the rhythm produced by some drums, which make this event particularly spectacular and colourful. After the procession, visitors have the possibility to enjoy other entertainments: wrestling, stick fights, human chess and traditional dances characterise this unique event, which gives visitors the chance to learn something more about Vietnamese traditions.

If you want to enjoy this peculiar festival, book now a cheap hostel in Hanoi: this event attracts many tourists, and you might find it difficult to find accommodation.
Tickets: free event
Date: 7th 9th March 2009
Location: Da Hoa e Da Trach, near Hanoi, Vietnam

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This article was written by Francesca Tessarolo with support from Cheap accommodation in Hanoi for any information, please visit Hanoi Backpackers Hostels or for travel information visit Discount hotels in Hanoi.

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