Ancient ritual to be revived

An ancient ritual to the earth and sky gods dating to the 10th century but fell into disuse in the last 60 years, is to be revived as part of this year’s Hue festival in Vietnam.

Hue preservationists to revive millennia-old ritual
Voice of Vietnam News, 06 March 2009

A Xa Tac altar ritual held during the early Le dynasty (908-1009) to the Earth and Rice Gods is to be fully re-enacted in the former imperial city of Hue on March 24.

Deputy Director of the Hue relics conservation centre Phan Thanh Hai explained that the 500 people who will take part in the ritual are undergoing intensive training to make the ceremony as authentic as possible.

Experts say that the ritual first began during the early Le dynasty and existed through the Ly, Tran and Nguyen dynasties. The ritual was held twice a year with the King himself, or a senior mandarin, leading the service and prayers for peace and prosperity for the nation and its people, especially good weather and a prosperous harvest.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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