Among the very old days of the country, under the government of King An Duong Vuong (Thuc Phan), Vietnam was called Au Lac. The King decided to build Co Loa (located at Dong Anh District, Hanoi at present time) as the country’s royal palace.
To commemorate the event when An Duong Vuong started moving into the citadel, residents of 12 hamlets belonging to Co Loa as well as 7 other communes around the region held Co Loa Citadel Festival within a 10 day period—from the 6th to 16th day of the first Lunar month. In spite of the fact that the palace witnessed the loss when the country was fallen at enemy’s hand, it is always the pride of Vietnamese people about a formidable history of the struggle against foreign invasion.
On the 5th day, at the afternoon, all of the eight communes hold a ceremony with incense offering at the communal house. Meanwhile, at An Duong Vuong Temple (also known as Thuong Temple or Upper Temple), the same ritual is held by the most respected elder among 8 communes, with revision of An Duong Vuong’s accomplishments and merits. On the next day—the official festive day—a procession in which the funeral oration, incense burner and stone tablet are taken from the elder’s house to Upper Temple is carried out. This settlement will be positioned in front of the two altars later on.
The yard of Upper Temple is decorated beautifully with colorful flags. Outside, two wooden horses in red and white color quietly stand. Palanquins of the eight communes are orderly placed in two rows. All of them are waiting for a solemn ceremony with incense stick offerings to take place, in the harmonious music of octet.
Apart from this rite, there are various traditional games and competitions included—for example: wrestling, crossbow shooting, bamboo swings, “con” (sacred ball) throwing, rice cooking. Also, you can immerse yourself among the performances of “ca tru” singing, “quan ho” singing, and “cheo” singing.
Time: 6th-16th day of 1st lunar month
Purpose: commemorate An Duong Vuong
Ceremonial rituals: incense offerings, processions
Entertaining activities: wrestling, bamboo swings, “ca tru” singing, etc.