Ba Chua Xu festival in Chau Doc, An Giang

Nga Do
Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival is a great festival in An Giang Province in particular and in Mekong Delta in general. This is a sacred religious activity of locals attracting thousands people every year.

Ba Chua Xu festival in Chau Doc, An Giang
Photo by Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên
Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival takes place every year from the 23rd to 27th of the forth month in Lunar Calendar. Located in Sam Mountain, Chau Doc commune, An Giang Province, Ba Chua Xu Temple has a long history. According to folktales, Ba Chua Xu Temple was built in 1820s by locals after the finding of a female statue in the forest. Locals respected her as “Mistress of Region” who brings them abundant crops and prosperous life. From then on, Ba Chua Xu Temple has played an important role in religious life of people here.

Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival includes five ceremonies: washing Mistress’s, honoring ancestors, offering (Tuc Yet), establishing altar (Xay Chau), and giving obligation (Chanh Te).

The first ceremony is washing Mistress’s statue taking place at night on the late 23rd and the early 24th. Mistress’s statue is cleaned with perfume water and worn new costumes. The old costumes will be cut into small pieces and given to visitors as amulets. This ceremony often last in one hour, after that, people are allowed to worship and pray.

The next ceremony is honoring the spirit of Thoai Ngoc Hau – a general in Nguyen Dynasty setting up this land. At 3 pm on the 24th, the elders in traditional costumes start processing ancestral tablets of General Thoai Ngoc Hau, Madam Truong Thi Miet and the council into the Ba Chua Xu Temple. After fixing these ancestral tablets, the elders offer incense ending the honoring ceremony. This sacred ceremony aims to express gratitude and honor ancestors for reclaiming this land.

After that, there will be three more ceremonies. Tuc Yet Ceremony is hold at the midnight of the 25th day. All of elders in the village and administration boards of temple in traditional costumes stand into two rows in front of the Mistress’s statue. They set a table of offerings with a pig, a plate of pig’s blood, sticky rice, fruits, betel and areca-nut, rice and salts. The representative will offer incense, wine and tea, scarify pig and finally burn joss paper. Right after Tuc Yet Ceremony is Xay Chau Ceremony (establishing altar). Chanh Te Ceremony held at 4 am on the 26th day marks the end of ceremony part.

Beside sacred religious ceremonies, the festival consists of exciting folk art performances such as lion dance, wheels dance, plate dance, so on attracting many tourists.

Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival is a unique religious and cultural activity of not only An Giang people but also the whole Mekong Delta region. This long-lasting folk festival contributes to enrich the socio-cultural and spiritual life of locals.

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