Traditionally, on August 10 of the lunar calendar each year, residents in the villages of Van Son and Duoc Son organise the Cao Yet ceremony asking for permission to open the temple and kick start the festival.
The annual festival is held in commemoration of the death anniversary of national hero General Tran Hung Dao, who led Vietnamese people to defeat three invasion wars by the Mongols in the 13th century. He passed away on August 20 (lunar calendar) in 1300.
A range of traditional rituals and ceremonies will take place following the Cao Yet ceremony under the framework of the festival, including Khai An (seal opening) ceremony at Kiep Bac temple, incense offering ceremony in commemoration of the death anniversary of Hung Dao Dai Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan (General Tran Hung Dao), a peace praying ceremony and lantern festival.
On the occasion, Hai Duong province also organised its 5th water puppet festival and a traditional boat racing game. Folk games such as wrestling, catching ducks and rice cooking contests are expected to draw attention from visitors to the festival.
The locality offers a tourism promotion programme during the festival in which local authorities will offer 10% of the price of tickets to the relics and offer free guidance to visiting delegations. Costs for accommodation will be reduced between five and 30%.
Con Son-Kiep Bac relic site in Chi Linh town, Hai Duong province is entwined with the lives and careers of General Tran Hung Dao and Nguyen Trai, who was awarded the title ‘Great Man of Culture of the World’ by UNESCO in 1980. The site is also an important place in Truc Lam Zen Buddhism where Huyen Quang, one of the three founders of the Buddhism branch, chose to practice religion.
Every year in the Con Son-Kiep Bac site there are two festivals held in spring and autumn attracting thousands of pilgrims and Buddhist followers from all over the country.