Xu Lady festival
Xu Lady festival- Vietnam Festivals: Xu Lady festival takes place annually on the second half of the 4th lunar month at Sam mountain, Vinh Te community, Chau Doc district, An Giang province.
Sam mountain, according to geographers, is about 4000 square metres large and 237 metres
high, lies precariously amid That Son region.
Several pagodas, shrines... gather here such as Xu Lady shrine, Tay An pagoda, Thoai Ngoc Hau royal tomb... creating an original architectural space which is both mystical and superb. There are a lot of public legends about Xu Lady. For instance, when carrying her statue down the mountain, hundreds of young wen could not do that, but just nine virginal girls do, the stone statue was carried easily. To the foot of the mountain, the stone slatue was suddenly too weighty to move. It was belived that she chose this place to rest, thus, they constructed a shrine for her here. Another legend told that her statue was brought from the foreign country by Thoai Ngoc Hau and put inside the shrine for worshipping... This is a sophisticated carved stone statue. It appeared in the sixth or the seventh century. Main rites in this festival are organized during three days 24th, 25th and 26th of the 4th lunar month with the washing ceremony at the beginning implemented at 12p.m of the 24th. Hundreds of women knee full of the shrine with a white lily on each person's hand. The statue is covered by a cloth. There are two women choesen from these hundreds of people as to wash and change her clothes. The water used to wash her is a special kind which is mixed with cinnamon and perfume. After washing, the water is mixed into two other drink tanks so that distribute travellers. It is expected that drinking this, everybody will get healthy next year. Her clothes is cut into pieces also to issue pilgrims like a talisman which is able to kill devils and help people get healthy. On the 25th, the procession of nomination is fulfilled solemnly from Thoai Ngoc Hau Royal tomb to her shrine. On the 26th. the ceremony of praying for happy and peace is held during the festival, several traditional games suer as singing, art of fighting... also take place.
Formerly, under the period of America - puppet goverment. there was a popular superstition. That was the habit of lending money from Xu Lady. It was believed that lending her money made their business more lucky. Therefore, traveller who lended this year will paid next year on the same day and lended again. This belief was so blindy that almost of them did it voluntarily.
Since the emancipated day (the 30th, April, 1975), Xu Lady festival has changed a lots. Several superstitious evils have been ruled out. Nagative respects in rites of sacrifice have been limited or changed. Thus, the festival has really become a cultural traditional one of value of people here.
Along with the Ba Chua Xu Pagoda festival, visitors to An Giang province can also visit traditional cultural festivals such as (1) the Dolta of the Khmer - a festival worshiping ancestors taking place from the first to the 15th day of the 10th lunar month; (2) a cow racing festival in Tri Ton, Tinh Bien in the 10th lunar month; (3) the Ramadan festival of the Cham people in the fifth lunar month; celebrities' death anniversaries, and more. So far, the Ba Chua Xu Pagoda festival has remained the most popular with visitors.