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DONG CUONG TEMPLE
Published: 20/07/2017 9:41:00 SA
Readings: 162

 Dong Cuong Temple as Ve Quoc Temple is located in Ben Den village in Dong Cuong commune of Van Yen district, Yen Bai province. It has been approved to be national vestige since January, 2009. The Temple lies 55 kilometers far from Yen Bai city and 15 kilometers far from Mau A town of Van Yen district where transport is convenient, especially the advantage of the Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway express.

Ảnh sưu tầm

Dong Cuong Temple stands on the righ bank of the Red River towards Southeast, opposite side is Ngai waterfall where has Duc Ong Temple. Dong Cuong Temple worships the Mountain-second-Mother and historical heroes died in battle against Chinese H’Mong – Nguyen in the century XIII. For this reason, it is called Ve Quoc Temple.  In the 18th century, the famous savant Le Quy Don put its name into the list of “sacred vestige”  

1. Value of history and culture :

According to professor Tran Quoc Vuong and professor Tran Lam Bien, who did the research at Dong Cuong Temple in February 1993, wrote: “Vietnamese are farmers. They consider soil and water most important. Soil and water are Yin in comparision with sun, which is Yang. Hence, Soil genie and Water genie are considered as Mother, a female. Dong Cuong Mother is the Endless mother. She is Forest Master who takes care of all property with “passed lives”  and she is inherent in mountain living time of Vietnamese. When She came to lowland, She turned into Homeland Mother under the name Au Co who gave birth of other Mothers being in charge of four magics: Cloud control, Rain control, Thunder control and Lightning control. In lowland, these Mothers are thought to be responsible for: Sky, Forest, Water and Land. They got support from many other spirits of historical heroes such as Tran Luu, Nguyen Xi, etc.” It is said that Dong Cuong Temple is the beginning of Mother worship custom of Vietnam.   

Through history of war against invaders, beside worshiping heroes of the battle against H’Mong – Nguyen in century XIII, the Temple also adores the dead leaders of Tay Khao ethnic people in the battle against French invaders (1913-1914).

Annually, the Temple organized a very big sacrifice festival to spirits. It starts on Cat Day of a new lunar year. A white buffalo is killed as a sacrifice by the Mice hour (zero hour) in order to pray for good weather and high yeild.

Many historical researchers have tried to answer the question why the festival is hold on the first Cat Day of a new lunar year. And a hypothesis is that cat is one of twelve animal designations. But Chineses call Hare and Hare is symbol of the Moon which impacts on plantation. White belongs to metal element which is one of five basic elements of Yin and Yang. Farming tools are made from metal. In addition, white and black also belongs to water element. So white buffalo is chosen to sacrify for a hope of good weather and high yeilds.

Hence, at the autumn festival which is in lunar September, black buffalo is used. 

The powwow of Temple uses twelve bows of buffalo blood to offer Mother, the rest blood is used to offer Gods of sky, land, river, mountain and spirits of dead solders who protect country. Then, he pours buffalo blood into the river hoping that the water flow will bring it to Gods so Gods will bring good weather and weath to people.

By dragon hour (seven to nine AM), Mother palanquin is paraded over the river by bamboo raft (main water vehicle of the pass) and every people thurify at the Temple.   

Besides above three major masses, in lunar September, at the Temple, people organize New Rice Festival and sacrifice is black buffalo..

The powwow is person who carries out all rituals in Tay language with the sound of drum, gong and dance of young Tay girls who wear their traditional most beautiful dresses. After rituals, many traditional games and activities are organized such as pushing stick, tug and war, wrestling, chicken fighting, etc. People also sell their traditional products or their local specialities at markets.

The speciality of traditional festivals here and its hallow make Dong Cuong Temple be an attractive tourist place.

2. Value of architecture:

Although the Temple has been restored since 2003, its old architecture still remains. It includes a Major house at sacrifice, Mountain house, Aunt house and Uncle house.

The Temple is located in a nice place where nature view is in harmony. Recently, many big trees are being plant. Stone  embankments is being built on the bank of the river infront of the Temple.  

3. Value of science:

Beside value of culture and history, architecture, there is value of science of Ying and Yang which shows through selection of position and direction of the Temple in order to thanks for power of Gods to protect country and 81 forest gates. The honour to Mother is origined from conception that Mother is the most important. In Vietnamese history, there is a legend that Mother Au Co gave births of one hundred children including fifty daughters and fifty sons who are ancestor of Vietnamese people.

Dong Cuong Temple and its festivals demonstrate original existance of Vietnamese people along the Red river in the past as the first cradle of Vietnamese people. At first, Kinh people and Tay people lived together. Then, Kinh people moved down along the Red river so their land expanded to the south while Tay people stayed. Archaeological relics of Kinh people are found nearby the Temple and to the south.

4. Value of community union and tourism

At the festival on the first Cat day of a year, after rituals, offerings and food are distributed to people. Meat of buffalos are cooked into different dishes. Another main dish is five-colour-sticky rice. If it is festival in lunar September, there is green rice flakes in addition. In these days, people come to have some offerings or food with the belief that they will have luck and property.

Dong Cuong Temple is also famous for its folk songs and activity of getting into a trance which attract many tourists.

Dong Cuong Temple is worth to be a destination of tourists who want to figure out spiritual belief and traditional values./.

Ma Dinh Hoan

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