Thánh Gióng

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Statue of little Thánh Gióng at Phù Đổng Six-Way Intersection, Ho Chi Minh City

Thánh Gióng (God Gióng),[1] also known as Phù Đổng Thiên Vương (Phù Đổng sky king), Ông Gióng (sir Gióng)[2][3] and Xung Thiên Thần Vương (holy king of the sky) is a mythical folk hero of Vietnam's history and one of The Four Immortals. According to the legend, Gióng was a boy who magically grew in size to be a giant hero and rode on an iron horse leading the Văn Lang kingdom to victory against northern invaders (Han Chinese).[4] Thus, he is considered the first anti-invasion hero of the Vietnamese.

The folk hero was a popular subject for nationalist poets, such as Cao Bá Quát who wrote an epic poem to Thánh Gióng in the 19th Century.[5] Today Thánh Gióng features with other legendary figures such as Kinh Dương Vương, Âu Cơ, Sơn Tinh and Thủy Tinh, in elementary school texts.[6]

Story[edit]

Background[edit]

Between 1220-1225BC, the setting occurred during the 6th King Hung Dynasty - Hung King where a war wages with the invading An tribe.[7]

  • In the small town, there was a poor, hardworking couple who wished to bear a child.
  • One day, the wife found a big foot printed on the farm, and magically became pregnant.
  • She gave birth to a son named Giong. At three years of age, he was unable to talk, smile, or walk.
  • Due to the attacks by the An (Yin), the king sent out messengers to call his subjects to arms. Gióng unexpectedly gained the ability to talk and ask his mother to see one of the messenger. He requested the king to arm him. the villagers fed Giong and he grew instantly into a magnificent man. Simultaneously, the king's blacksmiths worked hard to forge Gióng a set of iron armour, an iron sword, as well as whipping rods and an iron horse. Dressed in his new armour, he rode out on the iron horse and defeated the An invaders.
  • After defeating the An (Shang or Yin Dynasty, China), Giong and his horse ascended to Heaven.

Memorial[edit]

The Saint Giong Festival has been held since the defeat against the An, and it officially became a national holiday in the 11th century during the dynasty of King of Lý Thái Tổ, the founder of the Ly Dynasty.

Heritage[edit]

  • In 2010, UNESCO has listed Thanh Giong in Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding [8]
  • UNESCO officially recognized Saint Giong festival as a world intangible cultural heritage of humanity at 10:20 pm in Indochina time zone.[9]

Festival[edit]

Honoring[edit]

Thanh Giong (god Giong) also known as Saint Giong

Location[edit]

Usually celebrated at Phu Dong village, Gia Lâm District, Hanoi on April 4 on Lunar calendar every year

Feature[edit]

The Celebration tributes the hero who saved the country that stood against the army invaders.

Celebration[edit]

People have to prepare their performance for this festival from 1 st of third lunar to 5th fourth lunar month. On the 6th of Fourth lunar month,the festival begins with the ceremony of praying the weather. On April 7, villagers bring trays of vegetarian food to recreate the moment villagers who contributed food to Saint Giong. The festival continues the ritual until April 12.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/giong-festival-of-phu-ong-and-soc-temples-00443
  2. ^ Trần Quốc Vượng "The Legend of Ông Dóng from the Field to the Text," in Taylor, K. W., and John K. Whitmore, editors. Essays into Vietnamese Pasts. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1995 Keith Weller Taylor (January 1995). Essays Into Vietnamese Pasts. SEAP Publications. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-0-87727-718-7.
  3. ^ http://home.earthlink.net/~daiviet05/temples.html
  4. ^ "A widow's son, Gióng grows to be a mighty hero and rides a magic horse to victory against a foe and then to the heavens."
  5. ^ Historical remains & beautiful places of Hanoi and the surrounding ... Minh trị Lưu - 2000 "A talented poet in the XIX century, Cao Bá Quát, had summarized the cause and value of Thánh Gióng through the original poem showing great ability of the national hero"
  6. ^ Marie-Carine Lall, Edward Vickers Education As a Political Tool in Asia 2009 -Page 143 "Children learn about the legends of the nation's birth, which feature heroic figures such as Kinh Dương Vương, Âu Cơ ... Sơn Tinh – Thủy Tinh, Thánh Gióng.22 The distinction between what is legend and what is scientific history is unclear."
  7. ^ "The story of Saint Giong".
  8. ^ "Intangible Cultural Heritage list".
  9. ^ "UNESCO recognized Saint Giong".
  10. ^ "Giong Festival".