The Organizing Board of the 2019 Con Son – Kiep Bac Spring Festival held a heaven-earth sacrificing ritual on the morning of February 21 (i.e. the 17th day of the 1st lunar month) on Ngu Nhac mountain.
Delegates and visitors climb up Ngu Nhac mountain to perform the heaven-earth sacrificing ritual
In attendance were Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Manh Hien, Standing Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Vu Van Son, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Duong Thai, members of the Provincial Party Committee's Standing Board, standing members of the Provincial People's Council, leaders of the Provincial People's Committee and Fatherland Front Committee, representatives of the provincial departments, boards, branches, and unions, leaders of the provincial districts, town, and city, and numerous locals and visitors.
This year, the number of participants in the ritual and the amount of cereals prepared for dispensation were greater than last year's figures.
Numerous delegates, locals, and visitors attend the heaven-earth sacrificing ritual at Trung Nhac shrine
The ritual was held considerately and solemnly.
At 7.30 am, the sacrifice delegation started to climb up the mountain.
Unicorn and bat am (eight types of musical instruments) teams took the lead, followed by the delegates, locals, and visitors.
The delegation had offered incense at the foot of Ngu Nhac mountain and Bac Nhac shrine before moving to Trung Nhac (Middle) shrine to perform the heaven-earth sacrificing ritual.
Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Manh Hien distributes cereals to locals and visitors
There, monks offered sacrifices to pray for national peace and prosperity, favorable weather, bumper crops, etc.
After the ritual, the provincial leaders distributed the cereals to the representatives of the provincial departments, boards, branches, and unions, leaders of the provincial districts, town, and city, locals, and visitors.
The cereals were rice, maize, beans, peanuts, and sesame, representing five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Manh Hien offers incense at Nam Nhac shrine
After the heaven-earth sacrificing ritual at Trung Nhac shrine, the delegation offered incense at Tay Nhac, Dong Nhac, and Nam Nhac shrines and Tran Nguyen Dan and Nguyen Trai temples.
Located to the northeast of Con Son pagoda, Ngu Nhac mountain is 238 m high with five peaks stretching from north to south. On each peak is one shrine worshipping Ngu Phuong Ngu Lao Quan (five natural gods of five directions), namely Thanh De in the east, Bach De in the west, Hac De in the north, Xich De in the south, and Hoang De in the center.
Visitors flock to Con Son for sightseeing and participation in the sacrificing ritual
The five shrines manage good, ill, misfortune, good fortune, forests, mountains, and abysses. Thus, in folk beliefs, the heaven-earth sacrificing ritual on Ngu Nhac mountain aims to pray for good fortune, misfortune avoidance, good harvests, and national peace and prosperity.
The heaven-earth sacrificing ritual on Ngu Nhac mountain is an important and typical ceremony of the annual Con Son – Kiep Bac Spring Festival.
The ritual was restored in 2006 after a long time of interruption and has been maintained until now.
TIEN MANH - THANH CHUNG