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Le Mat Village Festival

December 19, 2007          1762 views

According to ancient records of Le Mat village temple, under the Emperor Ly Thai Tong (1072-1127), on a beautiful day, while the Princess and her servants were sailing on the Red River, a monster suddenly appeared and overthrew the boat.

A young man from the Hoang clan bravely fought the monster and saved the Princess. His only request was that the King allowed him to carry poor people to the outskirts of the city to explore the land. The King agreed. They set up 13 hamlets which soon created a rich agricultural area, which is well-known even today. These hamlets include Cong Vi, Giang Vo, Lieu Giai, Ngoc Ha, Huu Tiep, Vinh Phuc, Thu Le, Kim Ma, Ngoc Khanh. After he died, villagers called him Thanh Hoang (Tutelary God of the village) to honour him. Every year, on March the 23rd of the lunar calendar, descendants participate in the festival in the ancient village to commemorate him.

The festival opens with a procession of water from the communal house to the village well. This ceremony reminds the villagers of their origin and of the merit of the ancestor. Following the event is a snake dance. The group of snake dancers has trained carefully for several months. This dance is aimed at depicting the marvelous action of the young man of the Hoang clan who lived 10 centuries ago.

Le Mat Village Festival is not only a local festival but is also a festival for agricultural people. Villagers' beliefs are reflected in the snake dance, the water animal, a symbol of the female principle (Chinese yin) world. This is a modification of the custom of considering the snake to be the God, and the snake is worshipped in most villages in South East Asia.

Source: Hanoi administration tourism

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