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The pride of Thai Binh

Speaking of Thai Binh, people speak about Keo Pagoda. Considered to be the most beautiful ancient pagoda in the system of pagodas in Vietnam, in 2012, Keo Pagoda was recognized as a special national monument.

Along with the unique pagoda architecture, Keo Pagoda Festival also has many unique features in thousands of festivals nationwide. In 2017, Keo Pagoda Festival was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.

Keo Pagoda is one of the few ancient pagodas in Vietnam that still preserves almost intact ancient architecture.

Vietnamese architectural masterpiece

Keo Pagoda is located in Duy Nhat commune, Vu Thu district. The pagoda was built in the Le dynasty, from 1630 - 1632, also known as Than Quang Tu, worshiping Buddha and  Zen Master Khong Lo, who contributed to the construction of the temple. With nearly 400 years of existence, the greatest value in the architecture of Keo Pagoda is through many embellishment, but Keo Pagoda retains the unique ancient architecture of the ancient Vietnamese pagoda, one of the few ancient pagodas in Vietnam still retains almost intact ancient architecture.

According to the stone stele in the pagoda, Keo Pagoda was located on an area of ​​58,000m2, including 21 buildings with 127 architectural spaces. At present, the whole architecture of Keo Pagoda has 17 main works such as: Three-Gate, Buddha Pagoda, Holy Temple, Bell Tower, corridors and monastic areas... with more than 100 spaces. This is also an ancient pagoda with the largest amount of pavilions left and is the most diverse architectural complex of all Vietnamese Buddhist architecture. Keo pagoda architecture is considered unique because it is a large-scale architectural work but the layout is very close. More than 100 different large and small spaces are arranged into a continuous architectural block: three-external gates, a large lake, three-inner gates, Buddha pagoda, Holy temple and a bell tower. Although it includes hundreds of buildings and houses, the architecture of the temple is not monotonous. Seen from above, the roof height, the spread width of different works in Keo Pagoda are like “waves”.

In the architectural complex of Keo Pagoda, the most valuable architectural and artistic work is the wooden bell tower, typical for ancient Vietnamese architecture in the post-Le period. Built on a square brick floor, the bell tower is 11.04 meters high, consisting of 3 roof floors, constructed of overlapping bars. The bell-shaped frame is made of wood, connected by beams, lifting 12 tiled roofs with 12 phoenix bending, elegant and gentle tips.

Besides, the unique feature of Keo pagoda architecture is also the main materials used to build the pagoda: Wood, bricks and stone. Keo pagoda's architectural space is considered a traditional and pragmatic model for modern architecture typical of post-Le architecture. Currently, Keo Pagoda also preserved hundreds of statues and sacrifices of the Le Dynasty. Keo Pagoda is considered an art museum in the early 17th century, with many unique masterpieces. Experiencing many ups and downs, events of time, the Pagoda still exudes an ancient and firm look with time. With its historical and cultural values, Keo pagoda was ranked as a special national monument by the government in 2012.

Photo: Thanh Tam

Unique festival
At Keo Pagoda, two festivals are held each year. Spring Festival is open on the 4th of January; Fall Festival is open on the 13th to the 15th day of the 9th lunar month and is the main festival to commemorate and venerate Zen Master Khong Lo.

If the Spring Festival is both an agricultural festival and a talent festival associated with the activities of agricultural residents in the river area, the autumn festival is not only an entertainment contest but also has the characteristics of a historical festival. Keo pagoda festival still preserves many traditional rituals such as opening the holy temple, worshiping the Buddha inside the temple, welcoming the holy palanquin... The procession of welcoming the holy palanquin is a ritual which is held in the most magnificent and spectacular manner in the festivals of the Northern Delta in order to recreate the travel of Zen Master Khong Lo on the way to the capital for curing the King Ly Thanh Tong and the stories describing his life. The Holy welcoming Ceremony is held on September 14 as the anniversary of the birth of Zen Master Khong Lo, also in the middle of the festival. Preparing from the mid night, until 6 am, the procession officially begins. Although the procession is gigantic with participation of thousands of people, hundreds of meters long, from the elderly, men, women, children dressed in elaborate costumes with instruments such as palanquin, parasols, incense sticks, drums, gongs..., but all the participants in the palanquin procession are solemn and respectful to follow the strict traditional regulations. The palanquin procession is a typical religious ceremony but imbued with the nuances of folklore activities of the land and Thai Binh people. Through such rituals, the villagers prayed for the blessing of the god to preserve and protect the bumper crops and lead a peaceful and prosperous life.

Along with the unique rituals, the Keo pagoda festival also has talent competitions, unique folk games such as duck catching, rice cooking, soil firecrackers, reading, trumpet, drum competitions, frog dance, blindfolded drumming, climbing bridge... Through these traditional folk games and art performances, it reflects the lifestyle of the agricultural residents of the Northern Delta in general, Thai Binh in particular.

In order to preserve and promote the value of the festival, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has decentralized and assigned Vu Thu district Monument Management Board to manage and protect and promote the value of the monument and festival. The process of practicing festivals and related rituals in the festival is organized and carried out by the community closest to the traditional ceremony. In recent years, the space of special national relics of Keo Pagoda has been restored and renovated, contributing to attracting tourists and preserving festivals in a sustainable manner. Many folk games have been restored to maintain and promote the unique traditional cultural values during the Keo pagoda festival.



Tác giả: According to Baothaibinh.com.vn
Nguồn:Baothaibinh.com.vn Copy link
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