2019 new year incense offering ceremony at Thăng Long Imperial Citadel

On the morning of 13 February 2019, at the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel Heritage Site, the Thăng Long – Hà Nội Heritage Conservation Centre worked with the Thăng Long – Hà Nội Heritage Association to organize the 2019 new year incense offering ceremony, an annual key feature in commemoration of the sage rulers and talented officials who were of great meritorious service to the country.

Held in the sacred space and ambience of the new year at Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, the incense offering ceremony is a spiritual tributary activity in memory of our common roots and ancestors while honoring the traditional values of Thăng Long – Hà Nội.

Remembering the past and honoring the former sage kings and talented officials serves to educate the young generation of the national tradition of gratitude and to preserve for eternity the fine customs and values of Thăng Long – Hà Nội, promote the precious values of Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, a world heritage site situated right at the heart of the capital city that is more than a thousand years old.

The programme includes various traditional rituals such as the procession, incense offering, praying and other traditional cultural activities, such as dragon dance, drum performance and a square-circle dance called múa bồng.

Some photos of the new year incense offering ceremony:

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The procession at Main Gate (Đoan Môn)


A space of spring colors at Đoan Môn.


The procession, which was formed by over 400 members from various chapters affiliated with the Thăng Long – Hà Nội Cultural Heritage Association, started from as early as 7:00 a.m at the yard of Đoan Môn and proceeded to the Dragon Steps of Kính Thiên Palace Foundation to present the votive offerings according to traditional ritual procedures.


Dragon Dance performed by artists from Triều Khúc Village (in Tân Triều – Thanh Trì) regenerates the image of Dragon and Fairy Descendants, aspiring for propitious spells of wind and rain, health and prosperity, peaceful nation and secured people, championing the sportsmanship and the national tradition of gratitude and reverence.


Performance of the Thăng Long Festival Drums by artists from the Lower Yên Quyết Village (in Yên Hòa – Cầu Giấy district) demonstrates the glory and intrepidity of Thăng Long – Hà Nội people and culture.


The incense offering ceremony was solemnly and correctly officiated by ritual teams of men from Lảnh Giang vọng từ Temple of Hoàn Kiếm District, incense teams of women from Sở Thượng Temple (Yên Sở – Hoàng Mai) demonstrating the homage and respect paid to sage kings and talented court officials who were credited with the formation and development of the Thăng Long culture and the enrichment of the Great Việt civilization (photo courtesy: Lại Tấn).


Participants taking part in bird release ceremony


After the pomps and circumstances, visitors will be entertained with original art performances conducted by Center for Culture and Sports Development.


For this year’s new spring, the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel also features various spaces of flowers, miniature landscape and penjing, in addition to a garden of pinwheels in the Đoan Môn square to serve the sightseeing public. Combined together, exhibition and gallery, water puppet shows and folk music performances have created a jubilant atmosphere attracting a large turnout of new year visitors.

Thăng Long – Hà Nội Heritage Conservation Centre

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