VOVWORLD - The ritual of opening the royal seal is an important ceremony held at the Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh province on the night of the 14th day of the 1st lunar month. The seal-opening ceremony dates from a time when the King worshiped the Heaven God and the royal court opened the national seal to return to normal work after a Lunar New Year Holiday.
The Tran Temple in Nam Dinh province is dedicated to the
Tran Kings and mandarins of the Tran dynasty. The seal-opening ceremony was
first held by the Tran dynasty in 1239 to worship heaven, earth and the
ancestors. At Thien Truong palace, King Tran Nhan Tong organized a 3-day feast
for his troops after defeating Mongol invaders.
Historical documents say that after the Lunar New Year
holiday, the Tran Kings opened the royal seal to signal a return to normal work
on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The wooden seal is worshiped in
the Tran Temple now was made in the late 19th century.
At midnight on the 14th day of the first lunar month, a
senior man representing the village conducts the ceremony at Cố Trạch
Temple, Tuc Mac village. A procession then carries the seal to Thien Truong
Temple, where a prestigious man stamps the seal on pieces of yellow paper which
the attendees can bring home as a token of luck and happiness for the New Year.
The seal-opening ceremony has been repeated for many years in Tuc Mac village.
The ritual was followed by a festival with weightlifting,
dragon and tiger dances, and chess competition. Rituals at the Tran Temple and
relic site honor a triumphant period in Vietnam’s history and encourage a
spirit of patriotism.
The festival at Tran Temple is held between February
15 to 20. The opening of the seal ceremony will take place at 10:40pm.
Both local people and tourists visit Thien Truong Temple to
pray for health, good fortune, and happiness in the year ahead.
Many people choose to enjoy the Tran Temple festival before
the seal opening to avoid the crowds.
A crowd gathers at the festival
A man just receives his lucky seal
The royal seal is stamped on pieces of yellow papers for