The spring festival of Bai Dinh Pagoda takes place since the first day of New Year, officially starts on the 6th day and lasts till the end of the third lunar month. The festival is the perfect start for pilgrimages towards the imperial capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh province.
Only by visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda at this time can tourists experience the festival’s wonderful cultural activities—apart from sightseeing which is available all year round. Similar to every other festival in Vietnam, Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival consists of two parts: ceremonies and games. Ceremonies include worshipping Buddha through incense offerings, commemorating Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, giving oblations to God Cao Son, and attending Goddess Thuong Ngan’s audience. This part begins with a procession carrying the three figures’ ancestral tablets from the original temple to the new one. In the festival, Buddhist rituals are operated in the new temple in association with traditional rites from the original one. On the other hand, entertaining activities of Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival are playing folk games, visiting the entire structures, sightseeing the various caves, and enjoying performances of cheo singing, ca tru singing and xam singing. Also in the event, stages emulating Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang’s coronation and King Quang Trung’s flag offering ceremony at Dinh Mountain before entering his battle are played.
Time: 1st to 3rd lunar month
Purpose: express various beliefs—Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mother Goddess worshipping
Ceremonial rites: offering incense to Buddha, commemorating Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, giving oblations to God Cao Son, attending Goddess Thuong Ngan’s audience
Entertaining activities: playing folk games, sightseeing, enjoying traditional music performances