Hon Chen Temple Festival
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Hon Chen Temple Festival
Twice a year on the occasion of the spring festival (March 2nd, 3rd) and the July festival, Hon Chen Temple in Hai Cat village, Huong Tra district, Thua Thien Hue is crowded with people celebrating Thien Y A Na Holy Mother. The festival is like a carnival of folklore on the Perfume River.
Hon Chen Temple Festival
Address: Hai Cat Village, Huong Tra, Thua Thien Hue
Opening Time: Early March and July of the lunar calendar every year
Status: Honored by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Hue Nam Temple Festival is a traditional folk festival associated with Hue Nam Temple relic and Hai Cat communal house in Huong Tho commune, Huong Tra town, Thua Thien Hue province to honor Thien Y A Na Holy Mother.


The ceremony at Hon Chen Temple was held very solemnly. The villagers held ceremonies at Hai Cat communal house. Before the day of sacrifice, there is a spiritual ceremony to invite all the gods in the house of worship. After the ceremony is the ceremony of Holy Mother on the Perfume River, the procession sails from Hue Nam Palace to Hai Cat village communal house. Coupled boats are decorated with bright candles lights, colorful latrine flags. The procession carries the Holy altar, the long procession of the Holy Mother of the King's palate and tools such as canopy, flag, fan... in the music of the Phuong hat van and the Phuong bat am (group of musicians). When Nghinh Than finished, the villagers performed the ceremony of Tuc Yet according to traditional rituals. Singing, going into trance, calling upon spirits all night. The next morning is the Chanh Te ceremony at the communal house. Then there's the Tong Than ceremony. In the afternoon, the palanquins solemnly returned to Hon Chen Temple. The night ended with the release of the lights.

The most beautiful is still the Holy Mother procession celebrated on dragon boat called "bằng".  On each boat, there is a Holy Mother altar with a dragon palanquin. On the palanquin is the ark of the king who gave the Holy Mother, followed by another boat with the altar, palanquin and ark of the two persons of Thuong Ngan Holy Mother and Thuy Cung Holy Mother. Then there are the boats carrying the tools, parasols, fans, and flags.

The dragon palanquin of the Holy Mother is an embroidered palanquin, carried by the colorfully dressed virgins, and the ladies, who carry the vases, betel tubes, teapots, jewelry boxes, flag-bearers, parasols, pillows, fans... The young men carried the altars, Bat Buu, and other weapons. The procession is full of vibrant colors, a solemn atmosphere. When they reach the harbor, the procession moves from the river to the ground, and goes to the communal house of Hai Cat village, with Phuong Bat Am behind the palanquin.

Hon Chen Temple Festival is like a folklore festival on the Perfume River (Photo: Nguyen Phuc Bao Minh)


Hon Chen Palace is a relic cluster of about 10 different large and small architectural works located halfway up Ngoc Tran mountain, facing the Perfume River, hidden under the tall trees. At the top of the mountain there is a sunken place, a few meters in diameter, rainwater often remains, and looks like a cup of clear water. Folklore also said that the ancient Hon Chen Temple was called Hoan Chen with meaning "returning the jade cup", attached to the legend that Minh Mang emperor dropped the jade cup into the Huong River and a turtle rose to swallow the jade cup and returned it to the king.

The ground of this whole cluster of relics is not very large, the main architectural work is Minh Kinh Dai located in the middle; on the right is Quan Cu, Trinh Cat Vien, Thanh Pagoda; on the left is the Ngu Hanh palace, the altar of the mandarins, the cave worshiping Mr. Ho, Ngoai Canh altar. At the edge of the river, there is also Thuy Phu Altar. In addition, in that area, there are many small altars scattered here.

Artistic Value:

Like many other religions and beliefs, the Holy Mother worship religion in Hon Chen Temple contributes to directing people to live honestly, distinguish between good and evil, love people, and help the poor. This traditional festival has brought people closer together, contributing to making Vietnamese culture advanced and imbued with national cultural identity.

Experiencing the ups and downs of history, in recent years, Hon Chen Temple Festival has been restored according to traditional practices bearing the colors of local folklore. Hon Chen Temple Festival is also known as the Via Me Ceremony not only by the followers of Thien Tien Thanh Giao, but also by those who worship Motherhood, Piety, and Humanism. In that sense, the restoration of Hon Chen Temple Festival is the restoration of a traditional cultural value.