The Giong festival of Phu Dong and Soc temples is celebrated annually before the rice harvest to honour the mythical hero, god and saint, called “Thanh Giong”, who is credited with defending the country from foreign enemies.
This year’s festival lasted from May 16-18 (from the seventh to the ninth day of the forth lunar month) with various traditional unique activities.
On the first two days, the event featured various activities such as offering ceremonies, processions, folk games and traditional art performances.
During the main day, the festival symbolically re-enacted Saint Giong’s feats through the orchestration of an elaborate flag dance. The performance was ended with the image of Saint Giong flying into the sky.
Legend has it that Giong was born very strangely. His mother saw a huge footstep in the field and tried her foot on. Coming back home, she got pregnant and gave birth to the little boy named Giong, who never talked or smiled.
When Giong was three years old, the country was in danger of invasion. The boy asked the king to forge an iron horse, an armour and a cane for him. Giong turned into a giant, riding the horse and fighting against the aggressors. Finally, after got rid off the enemy, he galloped to the Soc Mountain, taking off the armour and flying into the sky.
As the largest and unique cultural event of Red River Delta region, in 2010 the Giong festival was recognised as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).