Monks, Buddhists and visitors attend the Huong Pagoda Festival, which began yesterday in Ha Noi's My Duc District.— VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc
Visiting pagodas and temples on the occasion of new year to pray for good luck, good health and success is a custom for Vietnamese people, he said. Each year a million of people flock to the festival, which is the longest and largest one in the country.
The Huong (Perfume) Pagoda is a living witness to the harmony of Buddhist architecture with natural beauty. At the temple, tourists have a chance to relax in a boisterous atmosphere during spring festival amidst beautiful landscape.
"Huong Pagoda has given priority to nature," says Dao Van Binh, vice chairman of Ha Noi People's Committee. "Its landscape is beautiful."
The annual festival will run until April 28 and will feature various cultural activities, folk games and traditional rituals.
The Huong Pagoda Festival has been submitted for designation of UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site.
Surrounded by vast green rice paddies, the site is a complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain, amidst lakes and grottoes.
City traffic: This year, 4,600 boats will serve visitors from 3am to 6pm at the Huong Pagoda Festival. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung
This year, boats carrying local artists performing quan ho (love duets) will be launched for the first time in the festival's history.
On the first day of the festival, many tourists prefer to travel on upgraded boats. However there are not enough boats to meet the current demand, which has resulted in the organising board giving priority to foreigners.
The first day of the festival featured the opening ceremony for exhibition that showcases Buddhist antiques and oil paintings.
"This is the largest exhibition for Vietnamese Buddhism," says Thich Minh Hien, Huong Pagoda's chief monk.
To celebrate capital Ha Noi's 1,000th anniversary, a Buddhism Week will be held from April 3, which will feature the launching of 500 lotus-shaped lanterns in Yen Stream, he said. — VNS