Requiem for Hoang Sa flotilla

Published: 18/04/2011 05:00

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A festival was held in An Vinh village, in the Ly Son island district, Quang Ngai province on April 18, to pay homage to the Hoang Sa flotilla; who guarded Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Paracel and Spratly) islands for hundreds of years.

Le khao le the linh Hoang Sa or The troop banquet ceremony of the Hoang Sa Flotilla is a unique rite practiced on Ly Son island by families whose relatives participated in the Hoang Sa Flotilla. They were mobilized by Nguyen Lords and then Kings, either to seek sea treasures or to protect territorial waters.

The ceremony was held at An Vinh temple, to worship the unlucky dead troops of the Hoang Sa Flotilla. It is unknown when the flotilla was established, but historians say that the flotilla operated for 3-4 centuries, employing thousands of soldiers from the central provinces of Quang Ngai, Quang Binh and Binh Thuan.

The troop banquet ceremony of the Hoang Sa Flotilla, which has been preserved for centuries on Ly Son Island, is held annually in the second or third lunar month to commemorate the Hoang Sa Flotilla.

After making rites at the An Vinh Temple, the Ly Son people released mock-up boats to the sea. The boats have food and effigies of soldiers. It was believed that going to sea was very dangerous so before leaving home, effigies of soldiers of the Hoang Sa Flotilla were burnt as substitutes.

At the festival, director Tran Tuan Hiep from the Vietnam Television (VTV), shot a documentary about the troop banquet ceremony of the Hoang Sa Flotilla.

On this occasion, ADEP France-Vietnam, the Vietnam Fishing Charity Fund and the Sea and Island Charity Fund presented gifts to six families of Ly Son’s fishermen, whose relatives were missing in Hoang Sa and the family of captain Mai Phung Luu, who has worked in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa sea for over 35 years.

The ceremony in photos:

On this occasion, ADEP France-Vietnam, the Vietnam Fishing
Charity Fund and the Sea and Island

Charity Fund presented gifts to six
families of Ly Son’s fishermen, whose relatives were missing

in Hoang Sa
and the family of captain Mai Phung Luu, who has worked in Hoang Sa

and
Truong Sa sea for over 35 years.


PV

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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