The Saint Giong Festival, which was recognized by UNESCO as world intangible cultural heritage, started in Soc Son and Dong Anh districts in the outskirts of Hanoi on February 8 or the 6th day of the first lunar month.
According to the legend, Saint Giong, born in suburban Hanoi many centuries ago, became a hero who drove away Chinese invaders.
The Saint Giong Festival includes a procession of a young girl who personifies a general and is accompanied by many young men as his guards.
The most impressive is a procession that reminds participants of Saint Giong pulling up Vietnamese bamboos and using them as weapons to rout China’s Yin dynasty troops.
In addition, there are also folk activities such as cockfight, Xiangqi (Chinese chess) games, and singing prayers to Gods.
The Saint Giong Festival not only commemorates the services of the previous generals who fought off enemies to protect the country but also educates the younger generations about noble values. Saint Giong was said to have flown to heaven after fulfilling his historic task, without expecting any reward.
Despite Vietnam’s turbulent history and the changes it brought to culture, this festival has survived and has not been affected by commercialization.