|Binh Duong province’s 2019 First Full Moon Festival|
On the 15th day of the first lunar month, people commonly go to pagodas and pray for their family members and friends.
One of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in southern Vietnam on this ocassion is the Thien Hau pagoda in Binh Duong province.
According to historical documents, Ba Thien Hau temple was built by a group of Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. The temple is dedicated to Thien Hau, the Lady of the Sea, who is supposed to bring good luck to traders.
During the festival, the pagoda attracts thousands of people each day who come to pray for luck, happiness and success.
“Initially a festival of the Chinese immigrants in Binh Duong, the first full-moon festival at Thien Hau temple has become popular among the local people as well. During the main ritual on the occasion of the first full-moon, we often organize a palanquin process to carry a Lady Thien Hau statute around town so that she can check if we, the ordinary people, are leading a good life or not,” said Vuong Vinh Thang, Head of the Management Board of Binh Duong province’s First Full Moon Festival.
|Visitors are treated to dragon and unicorn dance performances at the festival.|
“I visit Thien Hau temple every first full-moon festival to pray for good fortune and peace. I believe that Lady Thien Hau will bring all the best to us,” a pilgrim told VOV.
All facilities and services are well in place to welcome visitors. Mr. Thang said, “We provide free incense, water, and food to all visitors so that they can enjoy their pilgrimage to the fullest. This is also a way to show our hospitality.”
An auction of lanterns used at the festival is often organized as part of the festival’s main activities, to raise funds for Chinese classes in the local areas and for charitable activities throughout the New Year.
Visitors can also enjoy dozens of dragon and unicorn dance troupes performing at the festival.
“Although the festival was first brought here by the Chinese immigrants, it has become a popular festival celebrated by all the local people here. We feel blessed to live close to the temple and it is not too difficult for us to make ends meet. The temple has become a place for all pilgrims, regardless of ethnicity to come and pray,” said Tran Ngoc Huong, who lives close to the temple.
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