Guest Author - Taisha Turner
The Lang Pagoda Festival is a ceremony for the Zen Buddhist, Tu Dao Hanh. Tu Dao Hanh studied the value of many medicinal plants, therefore increasing the quality of the people’s health. His water-puppetry brought joy to the hard-working people’s life.
The festival takes place over a three-day period. It starts in the Lang Pagoda which was built in the 12th century during the Ly Dynasty. Lang Pagoda is in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The procession carrying Tu Dao Hanh’s joss-stick bowl travels the bank of To Lich River. The procession ends at the Nen Pagoda. Nen Pagoda is the site of his birth.
The second day the procession leads to the doors of Tam Huyen Pagoda. This is a visit to his father.
The third and final day, the procession moves the saint’s palanquin to the Hua Lang Pagoda. Here Tu Dao Hanh visits his mother. The priests wash and bless his palanquin. This ritual encourages renewal.
Third day is the end of the rituals and the start of the festivities. On the way to the Hoa Lang Pagoda to visit his mother, a performance of the ‘Fighting Deities’ ensues. In the performance, Tu Dao Hanh fights shaman Dai Dien in Due Pagoda. Dai Dien has killed Tu Vinh who was Tu Dao Hanh’ father.
At twelve noon the palanquin is back in the Lang Pagoda. The folk games begin. There is swinging, wrestling, go games, tuong and many other activities. Water puppetry is staged in the honor of the man who so loved the art.
The festival is in the Lang Thong Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi. It takes place in the spring during the 5th, 6th and 7th of the third month of he lunar year.
Lonely Planet Vietnam Guide Book
The Lonely Planet Vieitnam Guide Book is a great source of information. Take a copy with you and know where hotels and guest houses are in any town you visit while in Vietnam.
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