Triều Khúc Village now belongs to Tân Triều Commune, Thanh Trì Districts, a suburban area of Hà Nội. In order to reach it, one must, starting from Hà Nội downtown, follow the Hà Nội-Hà Đông Highway up to Km No. 18 and then turn left and go along a communal road for 2 km.
Triều Khúc Village Festival
Archaeological findings show that Triều Khúc Village is the site of a former 4,000-year old ceramics production centre. Local villagers have also learned from their ancestors that an insurgent leader, King Bố Cái Đại Vương Phùng Hưng and his troops liberated Đại La (that is, Hà Nội nowadays) in 791 from the Tang invaders of China and that during the operation, some of his army units were stationed in Triều Khúc Village. For this reason, Triều Khúc worships Phùng Hưng as its Spirit Protector.
Its second Spirit Protector is Vũ Uy, who served as Ambassador to China where he could learn the trade of weaving traps for conical hats. Thereafter, he came and stayed in Triều Khúc Village and trained local villagers in this new trade. From then on, Triều Khúc supplied hat traps to the whole country and some time later developed silk weaving. At present, the village is producing banner fringes and decorative silk patterns. It also buys feathers of chicken and ducks from various parts of the country: good quality feathers are exported to Hong Kong. Whereas lesser ones are turned into feather dusters for sale in the domestic markets both as a household utensil and a handicraft item.
The relative affluence of Triều Khúc Village is reflected, among other things in the revelry of its festivals, some of which, like the one held from January 10, last for two or three days. Indeed, the January 10 Festival involves many games: dragon procession, lion procession with flags, wrestling, cockfighting. But one of its main items is a ceremony in honor of village tutelaries, a ceremony marked by a religious dance which is combined with a “liquor offering rite” performed by two young men disguised with girls of easy virtue, called “girls’ offerings”. The whole ceremony is designed to beg the tutelaries for peace and prosperity for the village.
Activities in the festival
During the rite and dance, the two young men, disguised as girls of easy virtue wear white long dresses, crepe turbans, white trousers inside and back gauze skirts outside, along with five-color fringes and a rosy belt. They perform the dance and the presentation of liquor amid traditional music and folk-songs, in particular the “Ngũ Đối” tune. It is a most solemn ceremony and women’s attendance is strictly forbidden.
A most exhilarating item is the dragon procession in the main road of the village to be followed by a dragon dance in the yard of the communal house. The dance originates from an ancient belief of the Vietnamese people that they are the offspring of a Dragon and a Fairy. The dragon has become a sacred symbol of the nation. The dragon is 10 meters long. Marching in front of the dragon is the dance leader who holds a big ball and a symbolic piece of emerald. One person carries the head of a dragon – with his head and a part of his body hidden in the big head of the latter-, while 8 to 10 others carry parts of the body of the dragon. All of them are clad like royal warriors in ancient days; short tunics, long pants, puttees, red belts, red turbans, etc. The dragon dance is performed under the guidance of the leader.
The dragon procession is usually followed by the Lion Procession, which is simple: one person carried the head of a lion, while another person holds the tail of the animal as symbolized by a long and wide piece of cloth. The Lion Dance is performed by the carriers in coordination with a martial arts club wielder, a masked dancer, a dancer playing the role of Bà Thánh (a character in Buddhist mythology) and another dancer playing the role of Ông Địa (The Genius of Earth).
The flag is performed on the concluding day of the Festival, immediately following a ceremony for escorting village tutelaries into the temple. The flag dance originates from an ancient race- in which runner carry flags- designed to select young and healthy people for enrollment in the national army (for fighting against foreign invaders). As the ceremony held in the communal house comes to an end, drums, horns and gongs strike up vigorous martial tune, as if exhorting troops to advance, and a big flag is hoisted in the yard. Young men line up in two rows, with flag carriers standing at the beginning and the end of each row, and those wielding wooden spears, lances, scimitars, halberds, clubs in the middle. These two rows run into the fields, confront each other in a mock battle, then run again with their lines interwined with each other for several times and then run back to the communal yard where they perform martial arts. The end of the flag dance, as signaled by a long round of drum beats, also marks the end of the Triều Khúc Village Festival.