Yen Tu Buddhist spring fest opens

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The Yen Tu Spring Festival opened Saturday (February 12) on the Yen Tu mountain, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. The festival will last three months.

Prominent at the opening ceremony in the northern province of Quang Ninh were Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha's Executive Council.

The officials and Buddhist dignitaries as well as monks, nuns, followers and visitors offered incense to King Tran Nhan Tong, who reigned over the country from 1279 to 1293 and then left the throne to devote his life to Buddhism.

They also joined another ceremony to pray for peace for the country and its people.

Right after the opening ceremony, martial arts, cheo (traditional operetta), and dragon and unicorn dances were performed.

Yen Tu has received more than 20,000 visitors since the first day of the lunar year.  The site received more than 2.1 million visitors last year.

Yen Tu Mountain is located about 50 kilometers from Ha Long Town.

The area's beautiful natural landscape and awe-inspiring scenery, along with surrounding ancient pagodas and hermitages, are said to have motivated King Tran Nhan Tong to passed on the crown  to his son so that he could devote his life to living as a Buddhist monk at Yen Tu Mountain.

The former king then founded the Truc Lam meditation sect, which has led to Yen Tu being recognized as the country's leading center for Buddhism.

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