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Non Tung Temple dedicated to Saint Giong in Bac Giang province

(BGO) – Non Tung Temple in Tan Luan hamlet of Phi Mo commune (Lang Giang district, Bac Giang province) is where historical and cultural values and unique customs can be found, including the worship of Saint Giong or Phu Dong Thien Vuong – one of The Four Immortals in Vietnamese people’s folk beliefs.

Non Tung Temple, Saint Giong, Bac Giang province, historical and cultural values, unique customs, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Four Immortals, folk beliefs, mythical hero, fine cultural values

The altar of Saint Giong.

Non Tung Temple is dedicated to Saint Giong, a mythical hero helping King Hung to defeat the An (Yin) invaders in the 6th century.

According to the story of the god, compiled by academician Le Tung in 1572 and kept at the temple, under the reign of the 6th Hung King, the An invaders attacked the country, which was known as Van Lang then. The king sent messengers to seek talented persons to save the country. At that time, in Phu Dong village (which is in Gia Lam district of Hanoi at present), there was a three-year-old boy named Giong who did not talk or smile. Knowing about the invasion, the boy suddenly raised his voice, asking his mother to invite the King’s messenger to the home. He asked the king to make an iron horse, a set of iron armour and a whipping rod to fight the enemy. The king did as he said.

After eating up seven baskets of cooked rice and three baskets of salted eggplant and drinking up water in a stretch of river, the boy rose up and transformed into a giant man. After defeating the enemy, Giong took off the armour and then rode the horse to a mountain peak where he flew to the sky. To commemorate his merit, local people built a temple at the foot of the mountain and bestowed the Saint title upon him.

The temples dedicated to Phu Dong Thien Vuong in Phu Dong village (Gia Lam district), Phu Linh commune (Soc Son district, Hanoi) and Phi Mo commune (Lang Giang district, Bac Giang) will forever be the places preserving and promoting the fine cultural values of Vietnamese.

In front of the Non Tung Temple, which was built a long time ago, is a field named Binh (soldiers). Legend has it that on his way back after defeating the enemy from Luc Dau River, Giong crossed the Luc Nam and Thuong rivers and reach this area. Seeing big trees and flat and spacious ground, he let his soldiers rest here for one day to celebrate the victory. His troops were so many that they packed the vast field, hence it took the name “Dong Binh” – field of soldiers. The next day, after the troops left, local residents found a proclamation on the ground reading that: “Giong defeated the An enemy and rested here. If a temple is built to worship him, it would be very sacred.” After that, local people built this temple to worship Saint Giong.

As time passes, the old temple was damaged. Recently, local residents contributed money and labor to rebuild this place of worship on the old ground. Some valuable documents and objects dating back to the Nguyen Dynasty (19th – 20th centuries) are still preserved at the temple such as the statues of Saint Giong and his two bodyguards (Duc Dai Vuong and Minh Dai Vuong), bronze bell and gong, stone pedestals, a horizontal lacquered board, and a pair of parallel sentences praising the glorious feat of arms of the Saint.

On the eighth day of the fourth lunar month each year, local residents organize a festival at the temple to pay tribute to Saint Giong and recall the country’s solidarity and unyieldingness in fighting foreign invaders in the past.

Thu Huong

Non Tung Temple, Saint Giong, Bac Giang province, historical and cultural values, unique customs, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Four Immortals, folk beliefs, mythical hero, fine cultural values
 
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