Hue city receives Truong Sa holy earth for “Xa Tac” Esplanade
(VNF) - The Hue Relics Preservation Centre and the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper held a ceremony in the ancient city of Hue on August 29th to receive holy earth from Truong Sa archipelago to mix into “Xa Tac” Esplanade.
Holy earth from Truong Sa archipelago for making the esplanade in Hue to symbolise national unity. (Photo: tuoitre.vn)
The ritual, Te Xa Tac (Worshipping Genies of Earth and Crop), performed on the Xa Tac Esplanade in the former royal capital of Hue, is one of the most important rituals conducted by kings under Vietnam’s feudal dynasties to pray for peace and bumper harvests.
This is a ceremony honoring the God of Land (Xa) and the God of Cereals (Tac) with the desire for an abundant harvest and prosperities. From the early Nguyen Dynasty, Gia Long King ordered the establishment of the Xa Tac Esplanade to the west of the royal citadel with clean soil collected from different localities through out the whole country. Fortunately, this esplanade has survived with little damage when compared to other Xa Tac esplanades in Vietnam.
The Xa Tac Esplanade, built in 1806 under the reign of King Gia Long (the first king of the Nguyen dynasty), is one of several important relics in Hue. As its particular significance and functions, the emperor ordered all garrisons and cities nationwide to contribute their own pure soil for the construction of the esplanade. Hence, Xa Tac Esplanade represents the itegrity of the whole nation.
Under the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), the ceremony was held biannually in Spring and Autumn, and it was listed among the most important events, only after “Nam Giao” worshipping.
“Xa Tac” ritual was revived in 2008 to serve the Hue Festival. Since then, it is held annually in Spring and draws a large crowd of visitors both at home and abroad, as part of efforts to revive ancient royal performances and music, while promoting intangible cultural values in modern life.
Hue is currently the only city where the Xa Tac ritual and related documents are preserved.
Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Tuoi Tre newspaper Le The Chu said the earth received from Truong Sa archipelago reminds the significant contributions of ancestors to national independence and reunification.
Director of the Hue Relics Preservation Centre Phan Thanh Hai said in May 2017, the Tuoi Tre newspaper and the Vietnam People’s Navy also organised a ceremony to send Hue’s holy earth to Truong Sa archipelago.
This is a meaningful activity to affirm the national sovereignty over seas and islands, he added.
The organisers of the program carefully collecting the soils for Truong Sa. (Photo: baothuathienhue.vn)
The Holy Soil sent from Hue to the Spratly is part of the program “Sending the homeland’s spirit to the Spratly islands,” organised by the Tuoi Tre newspaper. Two units responsible for collecting the soils are the Youth Union and the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre.
Aside from Hue, the program also received holy soils collected from Lung Cu, A1 Hill, Dien Bien Phu,Hung King Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Truong Son Range, Cu Chi and Dat Mui. This May, the naval task force will be delivering the holy soils from all over the country to the Spratly and mix them with the island soils to plant trees. This is the will, the unyielding strength, and the inpisible bond of Vietnam.
“This activity is meant to assert the sovereignty of our nation, from the mainland to the sea; voicing the desire for a peaceful sea, as well as sending our supports to the brave soldiers who are protecting our land. The Holy Soil sent from Hue to the Spratly is another effort to assert our sovereignty, strengthening our spirits to continue protecting our homeland,” Nguyen Phuoc Hai Trung, Vice President of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre emphasised as he handed over the box of soil taken from various locations in Hue to the organiser during the ceremony at Phu Van Lau, Hue in June./.