Thu, 06 Nov 2014 . Last updated Fri, 08 May 2015 17:20
The locals celebrate the Goddess Thu Bon festival, including a procession on the 11th and 12th days of lunar March every year. The procession is rich in values and show off clearly interactions between Vietnamese and Cham cultures, specifically the Goddess Worship. For example, the master of rituals wears traditional costumes that carry many features of Vietnamese clothing, while the procession bears traditional features of Cham culture. As part of the ceremonial part, the traditional water procession and other important rituals are conducted in the middle of the village. The cow is the holy animal of the festival. It is said that the Goddess used to turn herself into a cow to give help to the villagers. The villagers had an extremely bad harvest that year. That’s why they decided to celebrate the festival in a simple way.
Amazingly, a cow appeared in front of the communal house. The cow has a string of 3,000 coins hanging on its horns. After they took coins, the cow moved towards the My Son Sanctuary. The festival part gets exciting with many activities like “bai choi” singing contest and cooking contest featuring many local specialties, especially Quang noodle. The rowing race features teams from districts along the Thu Bon River like Dien Ban, Duy Xuyen, Dai Loc and Que Son, attracts a large number of viewers and create an electric atmosphere.
From the rivers and estuaries, they sailed the boat to the sea and set up the busiest sea trade route of times. Precious vestiges of Hoi An seaport are now kept at the Museum of Trading Ceramics, No.80 Tran Phu street, Hoi An city. The museum preserves over 430 objects dating from the 8th to the 18th centuries and originating from the Middle East, China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. On display at the museum are ceramic pieces found in Hoi An, which prove that a sea trade route passed through this area in the previous centuries when the Hoi An seaport was still a bustling trade centre for merchant vessels from the Orient and the West, from Asia and Europe. Under the influence of Hinduism, Cham people consider the mountain as father and the river as mother. Therefore, Cham and Vietnamese people living along estuaries in the Central region worship Goddesses. Myths and legends of Goddesses have been told up to now.
The Thu Bon River, which winds its way through Hoi An city, Quang Nam, has taken up a very important position in life of Cham people since the 4th century. It was the main way to transport goods from highlands to lowlands and coastal areas. It played a significant role in the waterway trade network of the principle of Amaravati. It was also called a “salt route” because many salt making villages were located along it. In ancient Cham language, the river was called Mahadani, which means “holy river”, symbolizing Ganga, Shiva’s wife. She is the Goddess of the river Ganges (in India), a holy river that wipes out people’s sins and saves them from sufferings.
Through interactions with Hindu culture and Goddess Worship, Cham people got Ganga linked to the Thu Bon River, their holy river. Another legend of the Goddess of the river had it that Goddess Thu Bon was known as Lady Bo Bo, a general in the Le dynasty. While being chased by the enemy, she fell from her horse in Thu Bon village because her hair wound around the horse’s legs. Then she was killed. Kings of the Nguyen dynasty conferred the title “Supreme Goddess” on her. In this way, mysterious but beautiful legends of the Mother Goddess of the Kingdom have been told for good and she has always been a symbol of beauty and desire for peace. With geographical significance, the Thu Bon river has been identified with the Mother Goddess of the Kingdom who took great care of the material and spiritual life of local people. The river never runs dry. People never stop putting their trust in Goddesses. It is true to Cham people who believe that their Goddesses stay with them for good and protect them.
Going back in time, we visit the mysterious My Son sanctuary in a valley in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province. The cluster of Cham towers were built in the 4th century. Thousands of years have gone by. Through many ups and downs, this ancient beauty has never fallen into oblivion. And the beauty of Goddesses has been engraved deeply in our heart and mind. The earliest stele of Cham people says that the Goddess Worship was first practiced in the 4th century. This large sandstone picture found in the My Son sanctuary depicts Goddess Durga and her family. Through carving strokes, we can feel her majesty, power and appeal when she is defeating Satan. Goddess Durga is a symbol a victory of the good over the evil.
According to researchers, the Cham Goddess Worship strictly follows the yin-yang philosophy, in which Goddesses play a very important role in their spiritual life. Under the great influence of Hinduism and Brahmanism, most of the Goddesses were named after characters in Indian legends and epics like Ganga, Uma, Durga and Devi. Some sculptures of the Goddesses of great cultural and historical significance are now kept at the Da Nang Museum of Cham sculpture, such as Tara Bodhisattva and Yangnaitri (Apsara) dancers that have gentle and pure beauty.
Remarkably, under the influence of Hinduism, the statues of Goddesses have female faces and embrace the cult of fecundity. This stone altar pedestal is now on display at the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture. When it comes to Cham Goddess Worship, we cannot but mention a Goddess who is considered as the Supreme Goddess. Cham people attach much importance to the Mother Goddess Worship. They honor Goddess Thien Y Ana as Holy Mother of the Kingdom. She is Goddess Po Inu Nagar.
She was sent to the Earth to create the world. She taught humans to grow crops and weave fabric. She invented the Champa flower and aloeswood. She incarnated cloud in the sky and sponge in the sea. She traveled everywhere and ruled the whole Kingdom. She was the Holy Mother of the Mothers of Champa Kingdom. Built in 784 AD, the complex of Po Inu Nagar towers now stays imposing in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa. The Po Nagar Festival is celebrated annually during the 21st – 23rd days of lunar March to welcome those who turn their mind towards the Holy Mother and want to pay tribute to her.
It can be said that the Goddess Worship of Cham people bears many striking features. Over the past centuries, this practice has experienced interactions with Vietnamese culture. Most typical interactions between the Goddess Worship of Cham people and that of Vietnamese people are found in Goddess Khue Trung temple. According to a stele inscribed with ancient Cham and Sanskrit characters in 899 AD preserved at the Da Nang Museum of Cham sculpture, earlier, in the place where nowadays Goddess Khue Trung temple in Cam Le district, Da Nang city, stands, there were an ancient Cham well and a temple. Some Cham sculptures were combined with structures of the Vietnamese to make a place of worship for Goddess Khue Trung.
Taking a closer look, we can recognize similarities in the clothing of the Goddess and traditional costumes of Vietnamese Goddesses like the mandarin’s bonnet which looks graceful with diverse colors and decorative patterns. After a long period of time of socio-economic and cultural exchange between Vietnamese and Cham people, Goddesses have been honored in a diverse manner while keeping striking features of Vietnamese and Cham cultures. Every story, legend and myth of Cham Goddess leaves a lasting impression. The Goddesses stay unaffected by time in the land of wind and sand, and contribute to enriching identity of Vietnamese culture.
Source: VTC10 – NETVIET
Vietnamese conical hats
Vietnamese conical hats can be seen in all parts of the S-shaped country, from the peaceful Northern countryside to the white sand Central region and the Southern region of rivers. Simple and elegant hats make Vietnamese women more and more graceful.
Han Nom script - Vietnamese ancient language
If we understand clearly Han Nom script, we will be more aware of the beauty and quintessence of Vietnamese language. Consequently, Han Nom is a tool for studying history and cultural values. Moreover, it will help purify the Vietnamese language.
Striking features of Red Dao ethnic wedding
Each ethnic group has its own distinctive cultural identities contributing to diversifying of Vietnamese culture. Among them, it cannot fail to mention the striking features of Red Dao traditional wedding.
Charming Vietnamese conical leaf hats
Vietnamese conical leaf hats have become an indispensable piece of clothing for Vietnamese women and a beautiful feature of Vietnamese culture. Leaf hats protect women against rain and sunstroke when they go to work and beautify them as well.
Unique traditional Tet of Muong people
Each ethnic group in Vietnam has its own customs of celebrating Tet. Only when attending a complete Tet of Muong people in Rua village, can you feel deep love among the people here and their unique culture.
White Thai ethnic wedding
Like other ethnic groups, white Thai ethnic wedding in Moc Chau is one of the important events in the life of everyone. Along with the development of the society, their traditional wedding rituals have many changes but still keep the traditional beauty.
Sounds of Vietnamese traditional musical instruments
Sounds of Vietnamese traditional musical instruments are the soul of the nation. When they are played, they depict the unmistakable soul of Vietnam exactly. Therefore this is considered a special way to explore Vietnamese culture.
Life in Xam singing
Xam singing (Vietnamese folk singing) has been popular among Vietnamese people for years. Apart from its artistic values, Xam is also a folk singing imbued with culture and aestheticism. Besides, it educates people about morality and lifestyle.
Vietnamese Tet in days of yore
No one knows for sure since when Vietnamese people began celebrating Tet holiday, but all of them know that when people of all ages are eager for Vietnamese Tet when the first peach blossoms and yellow apricot blossoms come into bloom.
Vietnamese lacquer art
Vietnamese lacquer art attracts not only domestic customers but also foreign tourists by its unique beauty and spiritual art. Through many ups and downs of history, its value is not be faded but also is highly appreciated in the world market.
Discovering Muong villages in Hoa Binh
Hoa Binh is well known for not only beautiful scenery but also the unique cultural identity of Muong people. Although many traditional values have died out, but there are still a great of people who are keeping cultural values living forever.
Khen sound of H’Mong people
The khen is played in most of the activities of the H’Mong people. Khen sound of H’Mong people is a unique feature in this mountainous area, leaving unforgettable impressions on visitors once setting foot here.
Being a traditional outfit, Vietnamese turban and tunic always desired to have these items because they represented the luxury and politeness in the past. Nowadays, Vietnamese people are still proud when wearing the costumes.
Experience the lifestyle of Muong people in Hoa Binh
Muong people cover the majority of population in Hoa Binh. Muong culture has contributed to the unique identity of Hoa Binh culture. Once traveling Hoa Binh, visitors will have the opportunity to get exciting experience of the lifestyle of Muong people.
Loong Sap where Thai ethnic culture is preserved
Traveling to Moc Chau, a border land in Vietnam, visitors will have the chance to admire the poetic scenery with immense fields of white mustard flowers, experience and learn about Thai ethnic culture in Loong Sap.
Dao Thuc folk water puppetry in Vietnam
Vietnamese water puppet or “roi nuoc” is one of the most attractive things for tourists when coming to Vietnam. It is something tourists should miss out, even if their schedule is very tight.
Tet celebration in H’mong ethnic culture
Coming to Moc Chau in spring, besides poetic landscape, visiotrs will have the chance to explore and learn about H’Mong ethnic culture.
Worship of Tay Thien National Mother in Vietnamese belief culture
The worship of Tay Thien National Mother makes a great spiritual space with many long-established relic sites which stand next to ancient pagodas. This creates a special link between Buddhism and the Mother Goddess worship in Vietnamese culture.
Vietnam – The S-shaped country
Vietnam has a history of over 4,000 years founding and defending the country, is one of the cradles of the human species. Therefore, the materials on the history of Vietnam are a giant treasure anyone who want to find out this S-shaped country.
Ancient Vietnamese coins – Episode 1
Ancient Vietnamese coins are a special cultural heritage of the country. They reflect many aspects of social life and are valuable material which helps researchers get some insights into economic, political and social issues.
Ancient Vietnamese coins – Episode 2
Ancient Vietnamese coins play an important role in the exchange of Vietnam economy as well as politic and social development through feudal dynasties and confirm the self-reliance of Vietnam feudal dynasties and periods.
Special cultural features of Quan Ho singing
Unlike other forms of folk music, Quan Ho songs don’t often mention such work as boating, fishing and so on. Quan Ho songs symbolize love, faith and desire to live a life full of love. That is a special feature of Quan Ho singing.
Vietnam History 1858-1945
The period from 1858 to 1945 is seen the important transitional period of Vietnam history. The period witnessed bloody fights of Vietnamese patriots against French colonists and Japanese fascists to regain the independence and liberation for the nation.
The Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence
During more than 80 years under the French domination, Vietnam experienced many hard fights to regain the independence. The Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam of Ho Chi Minh had marked independencefor the Vietnamese nation.
Cham Muslims in An Giang
An Giang is a famous destinations appealing numerous visitors in Mekong River Delta. Coming here, visitors will have the chance to learn more about the religious life of Cham Muslims – the only ethnic group in Vietnam following the Islam.
Vietnam history 1945-1954
Vietnam history in the period 1945-1954 witnessed the glorious victories of Vietnamese nation against the French colonists to regain the independence marking the collapse of the colonialism in Indochina and all over the world.
Predestined love tie with Ao Dai - Vietnamese long dress
In Vietnam, Ao Dai (traditional long dress) is made for anyone. It’s the standard outfit for any special and important occasions. It’s also considered the national costume that is loved by both Vietnamese women and international friends.