Nam Giao - a major celebration of Hue Festival 2004

Nam Giao celebration, part of the Nam Giao offering Ritual - a largest national festival of the Nguyen dynasty, will be held on June 17 within the framework of the Hue Festival 2004.

The celebration will start at Nam Giao Esplanade, featuring a part of the King's offering at the Esplanade which includes a procession called Ngu Dao returning to the Citadel. The Nam Giao celebration will in future be a fixed event of Hue festivals from this year, said Nguyen Dinh Sang, Vice Director of Thua Thien-Hue province's Culture and Information Service and Head of the festival management board.

To research the historical celebration, the advisory board, including Hue culture researchers Nguyen Dac Xuan, Phan Thuan An, Vinh Cao, Tran Dai Vinh and Nguyen Xuan Hoa, studied over 100 drawings, a 7-minute documentary film on the festival and read hundreds of documents, said People's artist Pham Thi Thanh, the festival's general director.

The Nam Giao offering Ritual of the Nguyen dynasty was solemn. The King came from the Citadel to Trai Cung (Fasting Palace) accompanying a procession called Ngu Dao with between 1,000 and 5,000 people. The King sat on the sedan carried by royal soldiers in the middle path. The Ngu Dao was divided into three groups carrying hundreds of flags, parasols and lanterns. After the ceremony, the Ngu Dao returned to the Citadel accompanied by the sound of music, including royal music, and dances by 128 dancers.

The Hue Festival Organizing Committee and Thua Thien-Hue province plan to prepare documents to submit to the UNESCO for recognizing Nam Giao celebration as an intangible culture heritage.

Nam Giao Esplanade was built in Duong Xuan village, south of Hue citadel in 1806. At the beginning of 1807, Gia Long Court had its first religious worship ceremonies there. Nam Giao Esplanade is an open-air monument - The model of architecture bears both the religious and political significance of Oriental feudalism.

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