Hai Phong: Local procession ritual recognised as national cultural heritage

Tuesday, 2017-07-04 04:55:55
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Hoang Chau commune receives a certificate recognising its Xa Ma Festival - Hoang Chau Communal House’s procession a national intangible cultural heritage on July 3. (Credit: baohaiphong.com.vn)
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NDO – A local festival linked with ceremonial procession in Hoang Chau island commune, Cat Hai district, the northern port city of Hai Phong, has been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage.

On July 3, in Hoang Chau island commune, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism granted a certificate to include Xa Ma Festival - Hoang Chau Procession in the list of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages. This festival is imbued with the unique, local cultural identities of the island commune.

Speaking at the ceremony, Cat Hai district Party Secretary Bui Trung Nghia emphasised that the district is a rich cultural area with 88 relics, including eight monuments of municipal level and four of national levels. The Xa Ma Festival – Hoag Chau Procession has a long history associated with national historical relics and Hoang Chau Communal House was built about 300 years ago.

Xa Ma Festival - Hoang Chau Procession is held annually from the ninth to twelfth day of the sixth lunar month, with the main festival occurring on the tenth day, to commemorate the construction of the communal house and to pay tribute to Princess Lieu Hanh and two local tutelary gods who fought off invaders to protect the islanders, as well as praying for good seas and a huge catch.

Hoang Chau Communal House worships Princess Lieu Hanh, Marshal Tuyen Nghi and Vice Marshal Bui Dai Vuong, as well as the King of the East Sea and the Female King of the South Sea.

The ceremonial procession of Hoang Chau Communal House. (Credit: VNA)

Princess Lieu Hanh is one of the Four Immortals of Thanism, and also a leading figure in the Mother Goddesses belief, a symbol of prosperity. Because of her many merits in protecting a peaceful life and prosperity, as well as struggling against natural disasters and pirates, holy Princess Lieu Hanh has been worshiped at the communal house.

The two goddesses Tuyen Nghi and Bui Dai Vuong were high-ranking generals under the Later Le Dynasty, making great contributions to the fight against pirates, protecting local people in the coastal regions.

The Xa Ma Festival – Hoang Chau Procession is a form of community-based cultural activities of spirituality and religious beliefs, contributing to the cohesion of the community and society. Throughout the festival, Hoang Chau people educate the next generations on their ancestors’ precious traditions on patriotism and hard work.

The festival is also a place to store precious historical data, helping historians to study more on the records of various dynasties, regarding distinguished historical figures worshiped by local people.

This is the second national intangible cultural heritage of Hai Phong to be recognised in 2017 after Minh The Festival (Hoa Lieu village, Thuan Thien commune, Kien Thuy district).