Hat Mon temple: A place worshipping traditional heroines in Vietnam

11:17:52 Friday, January 4, 2019
The biggest celebrations of the temple take place on March 6th, September 4th and December 24th of the Lunar Calendar.

When visiting Hat Mon temple in Hat Mon commune, Phuc Tho district, Ha Noi, visitors have an opportunity to discover a historical location of two famous heroines: Hai Ba (the Sisters Queen), who represent strong traditional spirits of Vietnamese women.

The entrance to the temple

Hat Mon is one of three largest and oldest temples dedicated to Hai Ba Trung in Vietnam. This was the place where Hai Ba Trung looked for soldiers and prepared for battle with enemies, the ToDo’s men in 40 B.C. After taking control of the Chinese strongholds in Linh Nam, they proclaimed Queens and headquartered in Me Linh, Vinh Phuc. Two years later, a general from Han’s dynasty, Ma Yuan invaded Vietnam. Hai Ba Trung were defeated and committed suicide in Hat river. Many years later, Hat Mon villagers built a temple near the river to remember their legacy.

The temple was erected from the pre-Le dynasty with the type of decoration added in nineteenth century. In front of the temple there are two planks scripted ‘Ha Ma’. In the past, all officers, who passed through this temple, had to kneel down in order to show respect to Hai Ba Trung. On the sideways of the dike there is the main temple gate.

Inside the temple, the villagers displayed fruits or incenses for worshipping together with epic engravings that expressed Hai Ba’s spirit and legacy to the country. In the back chamber, the villagers set up two dragon-style tablets for the two Queens. Besides that, the temple covered many valuable objects: air metal object, rare incense, etc. which were made from the Le dynasty.

As history was recorded, when the Queens were defeated in the battlefield, their blood infused with the land, the river and every landscape of this country. Therefore, the villagers decided to paint all objects in the temple in black and avoided red color. As a custom, the villagers will not dress in red in summer festival or when they visit the temple. If a person dressed in red, he/she would need to change clothes before entering.

There is a mound behind the temple, called Ngoc An, where two Queens’ troops used to hide forbidden seals and jewels. The temple was ranked as a national historical site in 1991.

The biggest celebrations of the temple take place on March 6th, September 4th and December 24th of the Lunar Calendar. On March 6th, the main day of the two Queens, the villagers show their appreciation with banh troi (rice cake) offering, since when the Queens returned to the old base, the were hungry and ate banh troi at a small store nearby. A dish for the ceremony must have a hundred of banh troi. After the party, people will put 49 banh troi on a lotus and let it flow to the ocean. Especially, the villagers will not make or eat banh troi before the day of ceremony.

The ceremony on September 4th is verbally the day when the Queens finished recruiting and began the battle. Accordingly, there is always a performance of flag battle with players being the strongest men in the village. A lot of visitors have been attracted by this event. December 24th is the ‘Moc Duc’ day (bathing statue), which is also held very solemnly.
Source Hanoitimes

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