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Hanoi seeks to improve security at spring festivals

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During the forthcoming Lunar New Year 2018 holiday, commonly known as Tet, authorities of Hanoi have decided to tighten security at traditional cultural festivals to minimize the confusions.

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The opening ceremony of the Huong Pagoda Festival last year

 

At a meeting with the municipal government on Tuesday, the organizers of spring festivals in Hanoi pledged to prevent chaos and violence that often occurred at these traditional festivals in previous years during the biggest holiday, which falls in mid-February this year.

Le Huu Manh, vice chairman of Soc Son District in Hanoi City and chief organizer of the Saint Giong Festival 2018, was quoted by local media saying that the organizer will remove the public parades of sacred offerings between temples from this year’s festival in an effort to put an end to violence and chaos like previous years.

In 2015, the Saint Giong Festival in Hanoi became nightmarish as dozens of visitors attacked a parade to try to snatch the sacred offerings in the superstitious belief such offerings would bring about luck and prosperity for the whole year, while the organizers last year had to deploy nearly 300 police officers and volunteers to ensure security of the festival.

“All long-standing spiritual traditions of the festival will be preserved but tightening security and protecting its historical and cultural values should be strengthened during the upcoming festive season,” Manh added.

The Soc Temple Festival is held on the sixth day of the first lunar month to pay tribute to Thanh Giong, one of the four immortal gods in the Vietnamese folk culture.

Furthermore, Nguyen Van Hau, vice chairman of My Duc District which is home to the Huong (Perfume) Pagoda festival, has asked the monks to stop delivering lucky tokens to pilgrims, following violence and chaos in last year’s event.

The Huong Pagoda Festival is the biggest and longest annual festival in Vietnam, lasting three spring months and wooing millions of pilgrims and tourists each year.

This year, the festival is expected to welcome around 1.5 million tourists, and more than 4,500 high-quality boats would be arranged to serve the demand of pilgrims, Hau says.

During the first lunar month of the year, everywhere around the country is buzzing with traditional cultural festivities. There are around 8,000 spring festivals held across Vietnam, many of them in the northern region, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

 

 

Source: SGT

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