The Giong Festival is a Vietnamese traditional festival taken place annually to commemorate and show deep gratitude to Saint Giong – one of four immortals in Vietnamese legend.
In the festival, the fight between Saint Giong with Van Lang people under the reign of the 6th King Hung and foreign aggressions are reappeared lively. Thank to it, an unique cultural and traditional feature has been preserved over many generations. Nowadays, the Giong Festival is held in many places in the northern part of Vietnam, however, only in Phu Dong and Soc temples (Hanoi), it is organized very imposingly.
Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple is taken place annually from the 6th to th 12th day of the 4th month based on Lunar Calendar in the hometown of Saint Giong (Phu Dong Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi). On these days, villagers will carry flags to Mau Temple (Mother Temple) which is a place of worship the Saint Giong’s mother; boiled rice and salted egg-plants to Thuong Temple (Upper Temple) where is dedicated to the Saint Giong.

Giong Festival at Phu Dong and Soc Temples

Giong Festival at Phu Dong and Soc Temples

The main day of the festival falls on the 9th of the 4th month according to Lunar Calendar. Flags will be brought from the Mau Temple to the Thuong Temple to make an offering to the Saint. Besides, villagers will imitate the fight of Saint Giong and their ancients with the Yin. This battle has the attendance of Masters (Ong Hieu) like the Flag Master, the Drum Master, the Gong Master, the Army Master and the Children Master who are played by young males and 28 girls.
Afterward, there are ceremonies of examining battlefield and worshipping to the Saint Giong on the 10th day. In the next day, Phu Dong people will organize a ceremony to clean and wash weapons with holy water. Finally, a flag procession is taken place to inform the victory to heaven and earth on the 12th day. The festival ends with a ceremony of giving a feast to the villagers and people will perform “cheo” for the celebration.
Giong Festival at Soc Temple is organized annually from the 6th to the 8th days of the first lunar month in Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District , Hanoi. Based on the legend, after defeating the Yin invaders, Saint Giong stopped at Soc Mountain in Phu Linh before flying to heaven. Similar with the festival in Phu Dong Temple, there are many ceremonies held in Soc Son Temple which are procession rituals, incense offering ceremony, the ritual of bathing Saint’s statue and bamboo flowers offering ceremony to the Thuong Temple.

Giong Temple, Soc Son, Hanoi

Giong Temple, Soc Son, Hanoi

On the 5th night, people from 8 villages of 6 communes in Soc Son District will prepare offerings to the Saint. The next day is the opening day when villagers make incense offering to the Saint Giong at Mount Da Chong. Afterward, a bathing ritual of Saint Giong’s statue will be held at the midnight of the same day.
On the 7th day which is also the main day of the festival, the procession of bamboo flowers to the Thuong Temple will be taken place to imitate the day when Saint Giong’s ascending to heaven based on the legend. A part from the purpose of commemoration the Saint, this ritual also aims to show the desire of a peaceful country, harmonious rain and wind and abundant harvest for the villages.
Besides, villagers also organize other traditional games like human chess, Chinese chess and cock fighting, etc. and perform traditional opera (cheo) and love duet (quan ho) during the festive days.
The Giong Festival of Phu Dong and Soc Temples were recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in November 2010 for its profound value of human civilization.