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Festival dedicated to Mountain God listed as national heritage

The worship of Tan Vien (the God of the Mountain), one of the Four Immortals in Vietnamese faith, will be officially recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage.

A ceremony to receive the certificate from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will take place on February 25, on the occasion of the festival dedicated to the God.

The festival will be organised at a complex of Ha (Low), Trung (Middle) and Thuong (Upper) temples in Ba vi district on the outskirts of Hanoi from February 23-25.

The annual festival attracts thousands of visitors from all regions of the country. Besides a traditional ritual and an incense offering ceremony held at the temples, many folk games, sports and performances are organised. It also kicks off the year for Ba Vi district Tourism with the theme of "Cultural Rendezvous".

According to the legend in the northern delta, Tan Vien, also called Son Tinh, was the God of the Mountain and governed all creatures on land. He taught people to grow crops, hunt animals, catch fish, practise martial arts and hold festivals. Opposite Son Tinh was Thuy Tinh, the God of the Sea, responsible for the rising water levels that damaged crops, destroyed animals and drowned people. Son Tinh beat Thuy Tinh in a competition to win the heart of Princess My Nuong who was the daughter of the King Hung XVIII.

Nguyen Duc Nghia, head of the Culture and Information Bureau (under the Ba Vi District People’s Committee) said Tan Vien is the god of the Vietnamese people that embodies the aspiration to triumph over natural disasters, especially floods.

“The God of the Mountain is worshipped in many localities in the northern region in general and in Ba Vi district in particular,” he said.

“When the worship of God Tan Vien is honoured as the national heritage, we expect that all values of traditional culture and people’s belief will be preserved.”

“The recognition will help preserve the festival’s operation and upgrade it to a regional level. It’s also a chance to develop the local tourism.”

In Vietnamese folklore, Tan Vien is one of the four immortals, along with Chu Dong Tu, who taught the people to catch fish and grow crops; Saint Gion, who beat foreign invaders to protect his homeland; and Goddess Lieu Hanh, the deity of the Mother Goddess worship.