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Legend of a princess on Tam Giang wharf

(BGO) - The land of the river junction, also known as Tam Giang wharf, in An Phu village, My An commune (Luc Ngan district) has an ancient temple called Tam Giang Temple (or An Phu Temple). The temple worships Princess A Nuong My Nuong, who was conferred the titles Kim Chan, Tran Quoc Cua Ngoi Dai Vuong and Duc Mau Tam Giang (Tam Giang Mother Goddess) by the Kings of the Le Dynasty.

Legend has it that in the reign of the 15th Hung King, the 6th queen Tran Thi Tinh, called Dieu Mai, gave birth to Princess A Nuong My Nuong on the eight day of the fourth lunar month. When growing up, the princess was very beautiful and had a passion for going on excursions to visit landscapes. On the 10th day of the third lunar month, her five dragon boats arrived in An Phu village. The elders and villagers warmly welcomed her. 

Legend, a princess on Tam Giang wharf

Tam Giang Temple.

Seeing that the land of the river confluence had beautiful scenery and the people were friendly, the princess set up a royal step-over place in this land to serve her stay later. She also gave the villagers gold and silver to buy land to expand their estates. 

After that, she returned to propose her father allow her to take the land in Cua Ngoi (the river confluence) as her permanent residence. On the eight day of the 11th lunar month, the princess flied to heaven. The king loved her tenderly, so he satisfied her wish and set up temples dedicated to the princess in An Phu village and 35 other places to worship her, dubbing her as Tran Quoc Tam Giang - Princess A Nuong.

Tam Giang Temple, also known as An Phu Temple, was built on Tam Giang wharf looking to the river junction, which is the confluence of three small tributaries of Bo River from West Yen Tu merging into Minh Duc River (Luc Nam River now), creating an image of two dragons gathering in the water, the beautiful scenery, and the interference between the sky and the earth. The remaining architectures show that the temple was built under the Le Dynasty in the 17th century. For hundreds of years, the wooden architectural structures are no longer intact, but some engravings and patterns indicate the ancient architecture of the Le Trung Hung period (the 17th century).

Tam Giang Temple currently has two buildings: the front hall comprising one compartment and two lean-tos and the one-compartment back hall. In the temple, the architectural structures still retain a number of carvings of dragon, unicorn and flower carvings of artistic value. A statue of Princess A Nuong My Nuong is placed in the back hall. There are also statues in the Mother Goddess worshipping belief.

As a rule, on the 10th day of the first lunar month every year, the local people hold a ceremony to worship Mau Tam Giang (the Mother Goddess of Tam Giang) on Luc River. On the first day of the first lunar month, the villagers go to the temple to ask for permission to choose a new ‘mandarin’ to replace the old one. When selected, the new ‘mandarin’ will hold a procession of the seal from the house of the old ‘mandarin’ to his home to keep. This was an honour of the village. From that time, the new ‘mandarin’ joined the villagers to organize the ceremony to worship the Mother Goddess.

Offerings to the Mother Goddess of Tam Giang in An Phu Temple include ant egg sticky rice and ant egg cakes. To have the offerings, the ‘mandarin’ has to send people to the mountain to find ant eggs to make cakes. On the festival day, from 11pm to 1am and from 11am to 1pm, the villagers hold ceremonies to worship the Mother Goddess. The Tam Giang Mother Goddess Festival has many rituals and folk games bearing the national cultural identity, including a wooden board reading contest. The wooden board is engraved with Chinese characters praising the country, the merits of the Mother Goddess of Tam Giang, peaceful village, and good academic performance.

Tam Giang wharf still keeps many historical and cultural values. The ancient temple with the worship of Mother Goddess A Nu Nuong My Nuong has become an ever-lasting cultural heritage and an attractive ecological and spiritual tourist destination that attracts tourists from near and far.

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Dong Ngoc Duong

Legend, a princess on Tam Giang wharf
 
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