Tens of thousands of monks, nuns and Buddhist followers from across the nation have begun the annual spring pilgrimage to the Bai Dinh pagoda at Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district in the northern province of Ninh Binh.
The spring festival traditionally opens on the sixth day of the lunar year and is located at the Trang An Tourism Complex UNESCO world cultural and natural heritage site in the commune.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Secretary of the Ninh Binh Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thi Thanh were in attendance for the opening to beat the drum and release birds symbolising the hope for peace, good weather, happiness and prosperity for all in the coming year.
The pagoda on Dinh mountain dates back over a millennium and it is one of largest pagodas in Southeast Asia. Its national treasures include a 30-tonne bronze bell, 150-tonne Buddha bronze statue and 500 Arhat statues.
The festival includes holy ceremonies, folk games and art programmes and aims to commemorate two national heroines, inspire national pride and teach younger generations about Vietnam’s patriotic traditions.
According to ancient Vietnamese historical accounts, the two heroines, Trung Trac and her younger sister Trung Nhi, rode elephants to lead the revolt against Chinese dominion and gain independence following two centuries of foreign rule.
Some pictures taken on the opening day:
Deputy PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc beats the drum to open the festival.
Đăng ký: VietNam News