Truc Temple festival

Situated in Quyen Son hamlet, Thi Son commune, Kim Bang district, Ha Nam province, Truc Temple worshipped General Ly Thuong Kiet. Quyen Son festival is organized from the 1st day of the lunar first month to the 1st of the lunar second month.

As the festival is hold in the leisure time after harvests, it attracts many visitors everywhere. The festival has long been organized in an extensive space, from Trung temple to Thi pagoda and around Cam Mountain.

The procession arrives at the Temple early in the morning, and people begin to thurify. Then groups of worshippers in colorful dresses carry out the rite of honoring God. Three hours after the rites, people join the traditional games like: tug of war, wrestling, cock fighting, and chess. However, the most distinctive activities in Truc Temple are singing folk songs, dancing and boat racing.

Early morning on the 1st day of the lunar second month, the progression of the Buddha statue and Ly Thuong Kiet statue are carried from the Temple to the village's Common House. Here, people enjoy folk song and dance during 6 days. On the 7th, the statues are carried back to the temple. Folk song and dance goes on in the next three days. The festival ends on the 10th of the lunar second month.

Legend has it that on the way back to the palace after successfully driving the enemy away, Ly Thuong Kiet rested in the region and taught the people here to sing folk songs and to dance. Since then, in each festival people always sing folk songs and dance to commemorate the hero. This activity takes place on the temple's yard. There are at least thirty performers who are all beautiful girls at the age of 13 or 15. Those who has married or having mourning are not allowed to take part in the dance. The leader of the dancers is an elderly lady who is a great singer and who can also remember a lot of songs. This woman will direct all the other girls in the dance. The posture of the performers resembles that of a boatman. This activity closely attach to the boat race. The elderly lady is highly admired by the villagers. And the girls always feel honorable to be chosen as the performers. The dance is divided into 30 small parts with more than one thousand lines of verse to be sung.

Beside folk song and dance performing, there are many other kinds of activities taking place, such as Hat Hum (song simultaneously exchanged between several persons). At night, boys and girls gather in groups, exchanging love songs.

Boat race is organized on the 6th of the lunar second month. Only men are allowed to join this game. There are at least 3 boats in the competition. Each group consists of 18 people, dressing in different color. The boat is 8 m long resembling a dragon. The racetrack is 3 km long in Day River. A lot of people come to encourage the competitors. The winner will be awarded with a prize.

The boat race embeds in it a lot of values. It not only promotes the spirit of sports, but it also resembles the march of Ly Thuong Kiet's army in driving Chiem Thanh enemy out of the border. This activity also reveals the people's desire to conquer the nature, overcoming the calamities and wishing for good harvests. And the exciting atmosphere of the dancing and the racing also resemble the joyful atmosphere when Ly Thuong Kiet returned home in victory. The festival is a distinctive activity to praise the service of General Ly Thuong Kiet, to show the pride of a land with vivid folk culture and long history.