Hung Kings Commemoration Day

Celebrated on the 10th day of the third Lunar month, Hung Kings Commemoration Day is oriented around the themes of filial piety, ancestor worship, and patriotism to honor the Hung Kings – founders of Vietnam. For many people, this holiday is a national joyous occasion that embraces meaningful traditional Vietnamese culture and values.

Hung King Temple

History of Hung Kings Commemoration Day

The first Hung King reigned in the Red River Valley of Southeast Asia during the beginning of the Bronze Age. Since Vietnam was founded this early in history, Hung Kings Commemoration Day has been celebrated in various ways throughout Vietnam for many years. In 2007, Hung Kings Commemoration Day became an official holiday. As a public holiday, many Vietnamese people can enjoy some time away from work to honour their nation’s history with their friends and loved ones.

 

The Hong Bang Dynasty

The dynasty of the Hung Kings is called Hong Bang. This dynasty was started by an ancient leader known as Kinh Durong Vurong. After his death, Kinh Durong Vurong was succeeded by 17 Hung Kings. During the Hong Bang era, the Hung Kings stabilized the feudal system in the Red River Valley. This resulted in Vietnam being organized as a loosely connected state. Because of this, Vietnam enjoyed a large degree of sovereignty.

While much of Vietnam was connected during the rule of the Hung Kings, it was more similar to a confederacy than a modern nation-state. The Hung Kings also strengthened diplomatic ties with China. Many scholars believe that this diplomacy preserved Vietnamese sovereignty for many years. This can also help explain why Vietnamese culture is more similar to Chinese culture than the other cultures of Southeast Asia. Some of the most advanced Asian art of the Bronze Age was also produced in Vietnam during this period.

 

The Celebration

Vietnamese people participate in many celebratory activities to enjoy Hung Kings Commemoration Day.

The most important celebratory event occurs at Nghia Linh Mountain near Viet Tri City. According to historians, this area is where the first Hung King founded Vietnam. To pay tribute to the Hung Kings and other ancestors, Vietnamese people carry a sedan of offerings from the foothills of the mountain to the High Temple at the summit. Outside of the High Temple, observers provide additional offerings of incense and food. Like many of the holiday processions of East and Southeast Asia, the parade for Hung Kings Commemoration Day is very colourful. The participants wear brightly coloured costumes and traditional garbs to repel misfortune. The procession also consists of colourful banners and flags. Traditional music is played during the journey to the High Temple. This procession is a fun way to educate young Vietnamese people about the traditions of Vietnam.

  • Parade: Like many of the holiday processions of East and Southeast Asia, the parade for Hung Kings Commemoration Day is very colourful. The participants wear brightly coloured costumes and traditional garbs to repel misfortune. The procession also consists of colourful banners and flags. Traditional music is played during the journey to the High Temple. This procession is a fun way to educate young Vietnamese people about the traditions of Vietnam.
  • Live Music Performances: To reconnect with their traditions and cultural roots, many Vietnamese people attend live music performances on Hung Kings Commemoration Day. Most of these performances are oriented around traditional styles of singing and dancing.
  • Games: The Vietnamese people enjoy a variety of games and crafts during this holiday. One of the most popular games is chess. This gives people an opportunity to test their wits and strategies against their friends and opponents. In rural areas, chicken kicking is also popular.
 

In addition to honouring ancestors and the founders of Vietnam, Hung Kings Commemoration Day also serves the practical purpose of reinforcing traditional Vietnamese values. The events of this holiday often emphasize concepts like national unity and friendship.

Hung Kings Commemoration Day is an exciting public holiday that gives Vietnamese people the opportunity to learn about their origin and to offer respect to their ancestors.

SOUTHEAST ASIA EVENT CALENDAR IN APRIL, 2019:

Country Occasion Festival Date Reopening Day Closed Date
Thailand Songkran Festival 13 Apr 17 Apr Mon – Tue
Laos Pi Mai Festival 13 Apr 18 Apr Sat – Wed
Cambodia Chaul Chnam Thmey 13 Apr 17 Apr Mon – Tue
Myanmar Thingyan Festival & New Year 13 Apr 18 Apr Sat – Wed
Vietnam Hung Kings Commemoration Day  15 Apr 16 Apr Mon
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