Thanh MInh Festival in the Nghia Trung Con Cui (Con Cui cemetery )

14:51 - 21/08/2011

Con Cui is a large ground in the field covered by stone wall which measured by 30x40 m (meters)



Con Cui is a large ground in the fieldcovered by stone wall which measured by 30x40 m (meters). Walking through the main gate you will see a whitewashed, uncovered temple built of stone, whe-re ceremonials of religion are taken place. On the fifteenth day of 3rd lunar month, Thanh Minh (lit. Clear Light)  Festival, villagers will organize a ceremonies called wandering soul worshiping, in which they will clean the grave of anonymoussouls. Those dead people might be soldiers killed in wars, unknown dead citizens, people killed by bombs, or other souls f-rom different areas (according to principles of alive villagers).


No one knows when this tradition of village had been taken place? And they still wonder when Nghia Trung Con Cui was built? However, until 2002, after two violent wars, the villagers contribute their strengths as well as their money to reconstruct and a new cemetery was inaugurated on 27th April 2002 (the fifteenth day of 3rd months of Lunar). The anonymousgraves were assembled to the Le De mountain, on the south of Lao Cu mountain.Nowadays,with the care of commune government, Nghia Trung Con Cui has been renovated and developed more and more.   


According to monograph of Ha Trach Commune, “Qingming in the 3rd lunar month” is annually organized by village’s officials. In this ceremonial, with voluntary and humane spirit, every villager participates in by worshiping a tray of steamed glutinous rice (for the rich)or a small tray of roasted glutinous rice (for the poor)Those wandering, lost souls touch so deeply to the heart of the villagers that all of the villagers would like to come and pray for those souls as well as for their commune and families.


 Therefore, the villagers who are coming to pray for those souls usually bring their own offerings and spontaneously carry mattock to clean the graves of such anonymous souls. This ceremony attracts many villagers since the villagers think that worshiping and cleaning the graves are humane activities.


In 2010, on the occasion of the 35 -Year –South- Liberation Anniversary, Communist Party, The Committee of People, The council of People of Ha Trach Commune had organized Quiming in Nghia Trung Con Cui with big investment, in which national flags and traditional flags were hung up solemnly and splendidly. And it was taken place as an annual Food Festival, whe-re nearly 50 big feasts were displayed in five types, respectively and orderly f-rom nine hamlets, 24 families, small organizations and official government departments in the commune. All the offerings were brought to the ceremonial with commemoration of lost souls of solider and people killed in violent wars. They are considered as a little gift of grate for those souls.


 In the festival, it is an obvious chance for local authority to admit its responsibility to villagers and nation. There is no difference or discrimination, even bureaucrat’s attitudes; all left inside villagers’ heart in the ceremony  are sharing feelings, heritage of formers’ traditions, desires for better life.


This ceremony is also a big chance for “hội đồng hương(compatriot association)  in everywhe-re in Vietnam, such as Saigon, Hanoi, Hue, Dong Hoi, Hoan Lao …to return to the father’s land to be warmed up in relatives and villagers love.


Beside traditional Tet, warm reuni-on occasion of families in village, Quingming in the 3rd lunar month is also considered as a food festival for village, whe-re every villager can gather together to share their emotion in early days of the year.  Quingming in the 3rd lunar month is truly a traditional, cultural festival, which needs to be reserved and developed forever for the next generations.


The Vietnamese version of this article can be found here. (Xem bản tiếng việt tại đây)

Tác giả : Cảnh Giang. Dịch ra tiếng Anh: Lê Hồng Anh

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