Hung Kings Temple Fest to attract 6 mil. visitors

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The annual Hung Kings' Temple Festival 2011 will take place in Phu Tho Province from April 7 to 12 (5th-10th day of the third lunar month) to commemorate the death anniversary of Vietnam's first rulers.

The event, jointly held by Phu Tho and five other provinces Tuyen Quang, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Quang Ngai and Dong Thap will feature a wide range of traditional activities including a palanquin procession, a rice cake making contest, and an incense-offering ceremony.

The event will also feature a lion dance, performances of xoan (ancestor worship songs) and ca tru (classic opera), an exhibition of offerings to the kings,  and a banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) and banh day (round glutinous rice cake) making contest.

The province also plans a low-range firework display to start the ceremony at 9:00 p.m. on April 11. The festival's most important ceremony, incense-offering, will be held on the last day.

An international seminar on "The worship of Hung Kings" and other workshops will be held as a part of efforts to seek UNESCO's recognition of the festival as an intangible cultural heritage.

This year's festival is expected to draw six million visitors. Employees of government offices nationwide will be allowed to take three days off to celebrate the festival.

The legend

Lac Long Quan, a dragon, met and married fairy Au Co, who later laid 100 eggs from which 100 children were born.

The couple then parted ways due to their different origins. The man went seawards with 50 children, while his wife went to the mountains with the other half.

The eldest son, who followed his father, later installed himself as Vietnam's first Hung King. Vietnamese people are said to be the descendants of the Hung Kings.

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