Festival at a temple complex with the most diverse architecture in Vietnam
With historical and cultural values retained, on April 28, 1962, Keo Pagoda was recognized as a National Cultural Historical Relics. In September 2012, Keo Pagoda was recognized as a National Special heritage. On 23/1/2017 Keo Pagoda Festival was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.
Keo Pagoda’s Bell Tower
Description of the intangible cultural heritage
The existing process of the festival
Keo Pagoda means “Magic Eye Pagoda” (Thần quang tự, Nghiêm quang tự). According to the Book of national defense (1898) by Dang Xuan Bang, Khong Lo Zen Master, whose nick name is Minh Nghiêm, a villager of GiaoThuy village, HaiThanh district, build this Pagoda in 1061, in Ly Thanh Tong King dynasty. The master was born on 14 September, the Year of Dragon, in ThuanThien 7th year (1016) in the reign of King Ly Thai To in a family doing fisheries for generations. When grown up, Khong Lo enjoyed fishing as a fun. At the age of 29, he quitted fishing, studying meditation. At first, he was a student of Noan - a layman. He often chanted Da la nimon, wore leave clothes, used fruits as food and forgot all the afflictions of the world. In the year of Rooster, he came to learn at Thao Duong Zen Masterschool and was often praised by teachers to be an extraordinary person, later he could follow the meditation. In the first year of Gia Khanh (1059) in the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong, he went to Ha Trach Pagoda, made friends with GiacHai and Dao Hanh. Giac Hai often called him big brother, called Dao Hanh biggest brother, then mewed at DienPhuc Pagoda, Hai Thanh district. The more specialized in the study of meditation, the more profound he was at three sciptures, five precepts. In the second year of Gia Khanh (1060), the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong, he and GiacHai and Dao Hanh went to TayTruc and they all received teachings from Nhu Lai.
After building up Nghiem Quang Pagoda, the magic of Khong Lo was getting higher and higher, he could fly in the air, go under water, catch dragons, tigers and thousands of bizarre monsters, no one knows how magical he was. He often went out, every place he went to become a great place, his reputation was famous throughout the area. In the year of the Horse (1066), in the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong, at the Lien Mong (Tu Con) palace, when the King was on the verge, he saw two gingerbreads on the beams. The king was then immediately sick but the royal doctors could not cure. The government sent more than 50 people on a boat to the monastery to invite Khong Lo and monk GiacHai to cure for the king. Khong Lo used only 3 cups of rice to cook for all officials and soldiers. Everyone first laughed at him but then could not eat all. When eating finished, everyone got down to the boat, it was nearly dark. He said it was too late so we should go in the morning. When the cock sang in the early morning, he knocked on the boat three times, suddenly the boat arrived just in a moment to Dong Tan (now in Hanoi); everyone was so surprised. After healing the disease for the King, Khong Lo was rewarded with 1,000 tales of silver, 500 plots of land and was promoted to the title of National Master.
When returning to the pagoda, he started casting the NghiemQuang bell weighing 3,300 kgs. On the 3rd of June, Year of Dog (1094), in the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong, Khong Lo died at the age of 79 years old. In 1095, Giac Hai and the disciples of Khong Lo collected his embryo and built the tower at Nghiem Quang Pagoda.
In 1119, King Ly Nhan Tong, the king issued the order to renovate the Pagoda, asked 3,000 people to help. In March, Year of Pig, the year of Chinh Long (1167), in the reign of King Ly Anh Tong, the King ordered to rename the Pagoda from Nghiem Quang Pagoda to Than Long Pagoda.
In the year of Pig (1611), a huge flood occurred, the pagoda drifted away, the villagers of the old Keo hamlet had to move to two new places. The Hanh Cung villagers moved to the south-eastern part of the Hoang River, and in the reign of Minh Mệnh (1820-1840) changed to Hanh Thien, now belonging to XuanHong commune, Xuan Truong district, Nam Dinh province. Dung Nhue villagers moved to the left bank of the Hoang River in the Northeast. In the reign of King Tu Duc (1848-1883), the village’s name was changed to Dung My; in the reign of King Thanh Thai (1889-1907) it was changed to Hanh My, now belonging to DuyNhat Commune, Vu Thu District, Thai Binh Province.
After the relocation of the villagers in Keo village, Dung Nhue people on the left bank of the river conducted a major campaign to rebuild Than Quang Pagoda or Keo Pagoda in DuyNhat commune, Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province today. Keo Pagoda is the place to worshipthe Buddha first, and then worship the god Duong Khong Lo. Every year, the villagers open the pagoda festivals in the spring (4th January lunar new year “Tet” holiday) and autumn (from 13th, 14th, 15th of lunar September). They are the biggest celebrations of the year, the anniversary of the 100th day of death and the birth of God Khong Lo. The two festivals have different characteristics so the content and form of the festivals are also different.
The process of practicing the festivals
Before the August Revolution, Keo village was divided into 8 areas: 4 of which bordering the East side including ĐôngNhất, Đông Nhì, Đạ iHữu andVọng Đông; 4 of which bordering the Doai side including: Đoài Nhất, Vọng Đoài, Hoàng Quý and ĐườngThịnh.
- Preparation of offerings
The offerings of both the Spring Festival and the Autumn Festival are carefully prepared by the villagers days before the festival, with familiar local products such as: sticky rice, rice wine, fruits, square cakes… All these gifts are carefully selected by the people, chosen by prestigious people who have a full happy family, good business to carry out the task of the village. The prepared offerings were offered by the villagers to the Buddha and the holy God in the festivals.
- Preparation of other activities
Spring Festival is both an agricultural festival and a contest which is associated with the activities of agricultural residents in the river. Previously, Keo people also prepared for the contests such as duck catching contest, firecracker contest, cooking contest. However, these competitions are no longer practiced.
Autumn festival, beside the nature of a contest, it also has fundamental features of the historical and art performances.
+ Selection of the host and assistants:
From June 3, after the sacred meal with sticky rice flour mixed with honey cooked in 2 days, according to the tradition, people will vote for festival host. The host must be a prestigious person who has the right to decide everything for the Festival. Then, the villagers vote for representatives of the villages in the commune to help the host run all the affairs.
+ Setting trees, flags:
On September 11th, the villagers set up a tree in the yard before the three pagoda gates. The tree is more than 100 feet high, which is about 40m. In order to pull the flag with a width of 5m, people have to use a long cord.
+ Preparation of the procession:
Also on the 11th, healthy boys of Keo village gathered at the stone yard in front of the three pagoda gates to attend the selection of boys to carry the palanquin. At the end of this selection, the festival host chooses 42 healthy village boys who are skilled in moving palanquin, processions, dragon houses and boats. The Keo villagers call this "pulling selection", meaning pulling a troop to select people.
On the 12th, 42 village boys recruited for the first round will be selected for the second round to carry the dragon boat, including 4 people into the main yokes, 8 people into the strickles, 2 people with the fanson the two sides of the main palanquin. The remaining people will bring incense, dragon house, dragon boat.
+ Preparation of the sacrifice women and men teams
Before the festival for months, the sacrifice women and men teams began training under the old rules .Thy trained very seriously and guided the new team members.
- The procession of the Keo Pagoda
* Spring Festival
Keo Pagoda held a spring festival on January 4 lunar calendar. On this day, in addition to the people who come to worship the Buddha, there are also fun games: duck catching, firecrackers, rice cooking competition.
- Duck catching: This game takes place at the pond in front of the pagoda gate. When the loudspeaker had just finished, a duck was dropped into the pool. Next, 8 boys represent 8 areas, half body naked, holding a flag in his hand, jumped into the pond to catch the duck. Ashore, the drum beats along with the cheers of viewers. The boys swim to catch the duck while swimming, and diving. When a guy catches a duck without wetting his hand holding flag, he wins the prize and gets the village reward.
- Rice cooking contest is related to the sacred legend that Khong Lo,Giac Hai and Dao Hanh started their journey to get the Buddhist scriptures, they had no fire for cooking rice. They saw the bamboo bunch, then split the bamboo stick into two half and got fire to cook rice. At the beginning of the competition, after three drums, the master lit an incense, when it started to burn, the boys of 8 areas, from the starting point of his area, ran 4 rounds in front of the pagoda, to the fourth round, each man held a jar and they have to go down to the pond to take warter and run to the finish line to see who got the full jar of water first. This water is used to cook rice.
At the same time, after receiving the sticky rice, green beans and honey from the jury, the teams assign their members to pull the bamboo for getting fire (pulling two half of the bamboo), mill the flour, beans and boil rice to make cakes. Each team has only one kitchen, while burning incense, the team must finish cooking the sticky rice cake, putting on the tray to offer to the God. Whichever team finishes first with delicious taste will be rewarded.
- Firecracker contest: In the contest, when the viewers are standing firmly around the court, the master start the drums three times, the teams in turn send the players into the game. The players holding a small cracker in one hand, aburning incense in other hand, step into the game circle. When listening to the sound of the drum, the players burn the incense and throw the cracker on the cracker hat. If throwing the cracker into the hat at the right time it explodes and burns the leave. The fire would hit the fuse, blast the mini cracker chain, spreading out to the four medium crackers and eventually blowing up the big cracker. The game can only take place with one or two people so that all 8 boys of 8 teams can participate into the contest. The winner will be rewarded. In the opinion of the people, the winner will be lucky all the year. This game also means the wish for rain of agricultural residents, for the fruitful harvest season.
* Autumn Festival:
Khong Lo Master died on June 3rd, to September 13th, it is the reincarnation week. Therefore, the festival of Keo Pagoda is open from the 13th to commemorate 100days of the death of the Master.The 14th is the anniversary of his birth; the 15th is the full moon day of Buddhism. The autumn festival is very attractive, attracting peole of all ages in the commune and surrounding areas as said the folk songs:
Although my father beats me or mother prohibits me
I still enttend Keo Pagoda Festival on a full moon day.
- The 13th of September is the opening day, also called a good day. At the beginning of the procession, the village boys selected, together with the villagers in the early morning, start the processions of carrying out the dragon houses and dragon boats out to the three-way internal gate, and back to the incense burner in the evening.
Previously, on the afternoon of the 13th, Keo Pagoda Festival was expanded from the temple area to the two sides of the Red River area, about 5 kilometers long for a sailing race.
Each sailing team consists of 8 to 10 members, a decapitator and a driver. When swimming, the paddles go in the rhythm with the racers’ “booze”. On the festival, every man is dressed in a short, sleeveless shirt and a same color scarf. Eight teams dress in 8 different colors to distinguish. When the drums start, the boats swim to the start line in a vertical line, turning its head to the left side in front of the pagoda.
On the shore, the loudspeaker commander talks about the rules of the race. In the ready position of the teams, the drums emerge from the river bank, the teams begin to swim. The decapitator strikes the paddle, the paddles push regularly on both sides, and the driver stammers his feet. Their movements are accompanied by the sound of the "booze", pushing forward the boats in the river. They swim to the farthest target then turn back to the second round. When returning to the start line of departure, it is counted as one round. After three rounds, if the teams do not violate the rules, reach their target, will be the first, second and third prize winners according to the shortest swimming time. Every team is rewarded with rice and money. Any team wins the first prize on all three day contest will be rewarded an extra basket of rice and three VN dongs. Apart from the money and rice, the racers are rewarded with wine and happy cakes made by the village girls. Every day before the race, the girls bring gifts on the tray draped with red clothes to the riverside to celebrate the driver and the racers. The decapitator accepts the gift tray and declares the name of the gift offerrer. Along the river, we can hear the“hooze” voices of the racers.
Also in the afternoon of the 13th, there is also a reading competition. They are the priests who have a good voice, or the broad literature knowledge from the two sides of the lower Red River to participate in the contest. To participate in the contest, each person must dress right, testing their voices by reading a blessing passage to the holy ancestors every year. Those who have a good voice will be selected to the official contest. In the official contest, the contestants must write one or more pieces of writing according to six themes: incense, light, flower, tea, fruit, food. This is called worship literature. The litarary is written in the satirical way. Therefore, the reader must have a funny voice, the more satirical the more laughter from the viewers. Highly rated posts will have a direct impact on the contest prizing.
At the end of the competition, the Host chooses four excellent candidates and awards from 1 to 3 coins.
In the evening, in Keo Candle Festival, candles are lit on the Buddhist pagoda and also on the boatsfloating in front of the Pagoda. After the procession of incense, dragon house, dragon boats and incense to the incense burner, the ceremony took place, then comes the drums festival and trumpet contest.
The trumpet contest: Contestants blow the same type of wooden trumpets of nearly one meter long. Each participant must go through the test with the pre-set trumpet. Who has deep breath, blows in the right tone sound will be selected to the official exam. The Master chooses the four best blowers to rank into four levels; awards ranges from 1 to 3 coins.
Drum competition: The contestants must use three types of drums, pick a piece of music that they perform best to play. A good drum song must meet the requirements, do not miss the beat, the sound of each drum must be standard. When combining the three types of drums, the sound must be mixed, not broken. An excellent song of drumming must be able to improve the emotion of the drummer. Single performance, then double performance shows the dummers’ affection. The first, second and third prize winners must be good at both single and double performances; with prize of money ranging from one to three coins.
At midnight on the 13th of September, there is a ceremony under the tree. The people of Keo village often called it "longan tree".
After experiencing many ups and downs, the villagers now no longer organize the sailing race, reading competition and drum competition anymore.
- On the morning of 14th, anniversary of the birth of Master Khong Lo. The beginning of the procession is ceremony of carrying the holy palanquin. At about 3 am, the decapitator hits three drumbeats, urging people to eat then to start their jobs. After half an hour, he hits three drums signaling for a bath. About 4 am there is a drumbeat for the palanquin carriersto dress up with the bare feet, putting on a loincloth and wrapping it around the waist, like a small float. At 5:00 am, all the carriers gather at the front yard of the pagoda. At 6:00 am, the procession begins. In the pagoda, the drumbeats start. The procession starts from the upper hall to the three-way gate. In the evening, the procession of the god tablet to the shrine takes place. The processions both in and out go in the shape of a closed A.
At the head of the procession is a group of elderly people wearing brown robes, one hand holding a phan bough, the other hand holding a strip of cloth tens of meters long, called the sacred bridge. On the sacred cloth bridge are sacred flowers. They chant recite of the Buddha.
Followed by 8 kids from 10 to 12 years old, wearing yellow shirt, blue pants, red belts loosening at the two sides, head covered with scarlet scarf in shapes of two peaches, holding the flags in their hand. This represents the children of buffalo herds that were close to Khong Lo when he was a fisherman. Because of this, the village of Keo was divided into 8 areas.
Followed by two horses, one pink, one white. Each horse has four people in four corners. The four of them cover their head with scarlet red scarfs, blue shirt, white pants, legs wrapped in leggings. The horse stool is fitted with four small wheels. They slowly push the horse to go slowly; followed by the carriage of drums, gongs with the people in charge dress like horse pushers.
Following the drum carriage is the team of the old men holding the bowl, seriously into two rows.
Then, there are 10 to 15 musicians and the instruments, dressed in white trousers, pineapple cones, performing their fun songs like money prosperity, water flows, and flying on clouds.
Next is the Dance team of women wearing colorful Vietnamese traditional dress; followed by the four men in blue scarf, white pants, yellow dress, red belt. On the shelves, two small boats painted lacquer, symbolizing the fishing life of Master Khong Lo. Then there is the procession team.
Then comes the team carrying dragon boats painted in gold and yellow. This is the boat that symbolizes the journey of Khong Lo to the capital to cure disease for the king. When the procession of the holy palanquin in golden and yellow colors takes place, in the holy palanquin there is the god tablet. 12 male carrying the palanquin are naked, wearing hats, from the left shoulder to the right flank wearing a large gold scarf. When the palanquin goes under the tube, 12 bearers must kneel, two elbows leaning on the sides of the flank. Every move must be done in accordance with the drumbeat in order to keep the tablet in balanced position. After the palanquin, there was a man holding a big umbrella “long” for the palanquin. On the two sides, there are two men holding a cloth covering the sides of the palanquin. On the outside lanes of the sacred palanquins, there are eight people dressed in blue shirts, white trousers, teal head, and feet with boots, two crooked hands crossed in two sleeves, perpendicular to the chest following the orders. Behind the palanquin is the Festival Host, wearing insolemn purple with patterns. He holds his hands together in front of his belly, step by step in the prescribed manner.
Next is the Dragon House bearer team. After that is the team carrying the incense altar. These people also dress up like the above group. Following is the men, women groups, villagers and visitors.
Administering the procession groups is the two flag masters. One man wears a red robe, a green belt; the other man wears a blue robe, a red belt. Both of them wear turban, white trousers, walking along the procession to spread commands.
The procession starts from the sanctuary temple to the three-way gate gates with a distance of about 500m, around the pond. In the morning, the procession walks out from the east side of the pond, and in the afternoon, the procession walks in the western bank of the pond. The procession walks in the A shape.
In the past, when the procession walked to the corner of the pond in the left side, there were four people who controlled the seven wooden statues. The first man manipulates the woman statue, cheerfully happy on her facial expressions. Statue’s hand is controlled by a wire, easily raised and lowered. This statue represents the character of Mrs. Chang, also known as Cá Rổi. It is said that: once in the old days, when it was not flooding, Khong Lo brought his fish catched to Vien Quang market to sell, then he met Mrs. Chang who was very happy to buy. Therefore, when the statue of Mrs. Chang appeared, then there were female believers who walked after the holy palanquin reading the verse:
Hey Mrs. Chang
I invited you here
Supprisingly you appeared in the wharf
With a flag squad on your head
Your hair is in a fairy bun.
At that time, the statue of Mrs. Chang waved her hand in joy in front of the holy procession.
About the story of Mrs. Chang, people told that: In the past, Mrs. Chang often followed Khong Lo Master to the Sky to sell fish. Because too happy with the fairy scenery, she forgot the way back home. The next day, when Khong Lo went to heaven again, Mrs. Chang saw him, so excited waving her hand to following him back home.
After Mrs. Chang statue is the 6 male head statues, controlled by three people. The six statues are weaving and lowering their heads before the holy palaces showing their welcoming.
While carrying the procession on the shore, there was also a boat swimming contest in the pond.There are 8 children, aged 13, 14, wearing yellow, red scarf with two peaches, sitting in four pairs of balance, swimming with wooden beams on a small boat, called “boat stork”. There were two adults in the boat; one was in the boat commander and the other drived, wearing a yellow shirt, a yellow scarf, and a red belt on the left. The sound of eight children and the fiddle made the boat gobbled slightly on the water around the pond. The boats only represent performances to the holy God.
In the past, in the afternoon of the 14th, Keo village also performed sacred worship ceremony in the pagoda. It is a frog dance.
12 people dressed as in the procession of palanquin, in two vertical rows in the middle, facing the upper palace. The commander beats the small drum in his hand as command signal. After the first drumstick, the two rows stand up. He beats the drum once, 12 bearers put their hands in front of their chests, two feet to twist on both sides, two heels bunched up. The commander went on the next drum beat; the two rows swung their hands to the left, allowing their body to bounce back to its original position. This action is done 5 times. This is the sacred form of the 12 bearers that have been styled as a dance.
- On the 15th, all rituals were conducted similarly to the 14th. However, the feast of the 12 bearer boys was organized by a sacred ritual at the night after the procession was completed. This is the ceremony to finish the three days of the Keo Pagoda.
The autumn festival at Keo Pagoda through the rituals of a God has reflected many details of the legend of Master Khong Lo.
In addition to the two major festivals, annually, Keo Pagoda also performs the following habits:
- The worship in February by the Lunar Calendar: In February, the people choose a day within the 1st and the10th to start a tea ceremony. On this day, they only make a tea called tea for worship. Tea is made with six medicinal herbs. When worsshipping, they follow the details as the worship in the other temples; there are readings and tea donation, not wine donation.
- 3rd June: This is the day of Master Khong Lo's death. Every year, Keo villagers vote for a village Host and representatives of the commune to go to the pagoda. The ceremony includes reading and prayers. The offerings include cakes made of glutinous rice flour mixed with honey and cooked in a cooking pot for about two nights and a day.
- In addition to the above events, Keo Pagoda also has a special habit: the decoration of the statues, once every 12 years. The details of this practice are carefully documented. In the year of this event, from the date to August 15th, the villagers choose a day to decorate the statue. The village elects a Host and four assistants. When elected, the Host will come and ask the God for approval of the Holy by diving the yin and yang coin. If not approved, the village must hold the election again.
The host and assistants must have been vegetarian for 10 days and cleaned themselves, put on new clothes, and beg for help someday. After the application of yin and yang is approved, the assistants must sweep the sanctuary, take the screen covering the shrine on the altar, arrange furniture, use paper to cover the gap and burn candles, etc. ... Then they take the Holy god statue from the forbidden palace, use water from coconut milk and grapefruit to bathe and paint the statue. These tasks are conducted very seriously, confidentially in the orders with written specific regulations. The Keo villagers consider the decoration of the statue to be an important task, the only occasion in which the assistants know the statue and the sacred objects. After decorating the statue, these people are not allowed to reveal what was seen in the Forbidden Palace to anyone.
- Dressing ceremony: On August 15, after the God statue is decorated, the Festival Host and 8 representatives attend the ceremony. Once a year, there is a ceremony to dress, change clothes for the statue. People order up to 100 square of silk to dress the statue. From August 15th to September 10th, villagers choose good days to dress for statues. The old clothes of the statue are offered to villagers for luck.
Cultural space related to Keo Pagoda Festival
The Keo Pagoda Festival is held at the Keo Pagoda, ranked by the Ministry of Culture (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) as the National Relic in 1962, the National Special Heritage in 2012.
Keo Pagoda has a total area of 41,561.9m2.
At present, the pagoda is composed of 12 buildings, 102 chambers. They are the main architectural works of the pagoda and four buildings of 14-chambers which are the newly built auxiliary works. The main architectural works of the Keo Pagoda include: Three-way external gate (3 chambers); Three-way internal gate (3 chambers); Buddhist pagoda (3 chambers): Protector building (7 chambers), pipe building (3 chambers), three security building (3 chambers); the God temple (4 chambers): the shelf building (5 chambers), the incense burner (5 chambers), the back building (3 chambers), the upper palace (3 chambers); bell tower (1 chamber); East corridor (33 chambers); western corridor (33 chambers). Thus, KeoPagoda has a total of 16 building of 116 chambers.
Surrounding the inner area are three large lakes: the southern lake in front of the three-way internal gate and behind the Three-way external gate, the lake behind the East Corridor and the lake behind the West Corridor.
The physical and mental products which are created during the existence of the Keo Pagoda Festival
- During the preparation and practice of the Keo Pagoda festival, the organizers and the people participating in the festival have created many material products such as offerings, props and tools used in festivals: palanquin, dragon boat, tugboat, eight-precious weapons, ..., dresses of the participants of the procession.
- Coming to the festival, visitors have a chance to meet the spiritual needs, wishes for health, fortune and luck for all year round.
Value of the Keo Pagoda festival
- Keo Pagoda Festival with the story of Master Khong Lo reflects a period of development of Buddhism in Vietnam. The mythological details of his religion have reflected the Buddhist practice of using Buddhist teachings to promote and spread Buddhism.
- This festival demonstrates the worship of the community to Master Khong Lo, the image that people consider to be giant, associated with the gods, has great power to help the villagers to have fruitful crops.
- Keo Pagoda Festival has the value of strengthening solidarity among members of the village, between hamlets, families ... in the general activities of the festival. This is the linkage of the generations in the community, sharing, enjoying and cherishing traditional cultural values. This is a traditional environment that preserves traditional culture and is a symbol of community cohesion.
- Keo Pagoda Festival is also the place where residents in particular and the visitors send their dreams, aspirations for a happy life. This is one of the environments that exist, nurture and satisfy the need of healthy beliefs of the people through the worship of the Buddha, the worship of Master Khong Lo - the legendary character as the guardian gods, sheltering for the village.
- Keo Pagoda Festival is an environment that satisfies the religious needs of the people.
The role of heritage in community life
Keo Pagoda Festival has a great significance for the spiritual life of people here in particular and people in the surrounding neighborhood in general. This is a cultural activity that attracts the participation of the masses. People coming to the festival want the best for themselves, their families and the village community. Each ritual, related performance of the festival brings positive spiritual values to the people themselves in the face of the difficulties of life.
The festival is a common property of the community, a typical festival of people in DuyNhat commune in particular and Thai Binh in general. The Heritage Entity is committed to participating in the voluntary organization and practice of the festival and is excited, enthusiastic to participate in this community event.
At present, together with monuments of Keo Pagoda, Keo Pagoda festival has become a tourist attraction to Thai Binh. Keo Pagoda Festival contributes to the development of local culture, tourism and economy: increasing tourism services, creating jobs for many families, contributing to promoting socio-economic development and especially raising the living standard of community residents of Duy Nhat commune.
Status of the intangible cultural heritage
The Keo Pagoda Festival is still held twice a year with the solemn ceremony in the autumn, attracting the contribution of effort and materials of the community as well as visitors.
However, the festival of Keo Pagoda is no longer practicing competitions in Spring Festival such as reading competition, sailing race, drum competition, trumpet competition and frog dance.
Methods of protection
Keo Pagoda Festival has become a form of indispensable community cultural activities to meet the needs of the people for spiritual life. To preserve and promote the value of the festival, agencies and units of Thai Binh province have carried out specific activities:
- The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Thai Binh province has decentralized and assigned Vu Thu district to set up a Heritage management board to manage and protect the values of monuments, festivals, propose measures for security and good management of environmental services and landscapes, festive space, and for preventing superstitious activities, hacking guests.
- The process of practicing festivals and related rituals in the festival is organized and performed by the community closest to the traditional ritual performed by the previous generations.
- The space for organizing the festival is a national special monument, so it has been restored, as a complete space of the festival, contributing to attract tourists and preserve the festival in a sustainable way.
- Maintaining and promoting traditional cultural values in the festival of Keo Pagoda, propagating and introducing festivals in various forms; promoting the cultural value of the festival with the unique souvenir products only available at Keo Pagoda.
List of documents related to the intangible cultural heritage
1. Keo Pagoda, Department of Culture and Information of Thai Binh Province, 1985.
2. Vietnam Festivals, Le Trung Vu - Le Hong Ly, Publisher of Culture and Information, 2000.
3. Dossier for ranking national monument of Keo Pagoda, archived at the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Thai Binh province, 1962.
4. Profile of Keo Pagoda Special National Monument, 2012.