Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival is hold annually from the 23rd day to 27th day of the fourth lunar month, in Ba Chua Xu Temple, Nui Sam (Sam Mountain) ward, Chau Doc commune, An Giang province.
The temple was constructed in 1820 as according to folklore, in the early 1800s, local people there had found a female statue made of marble in the forest—they considered her as their ‘country lady’, Ba Chua Xu. They built the temple to worship the lady with the hope that she would bring them greater crops as well as happier and wealthier lives.
Ba Chua Xu Temple meaning ‘kingdom’ or ‘country’—it has foursquare roofs floored in blue tiles. The festival consists of five ceremonies: ‘bathing’ (actually washing) Ba Chua’s statue in which it is cleaned with scented water and changed costumes into new ones; inviting the spirit of Thoai Ngoc Hau—a general in Nguyen Dynasty—to the temple as a commemoration of his merit in reclaiming the land; sacrificing offerings (called Tuc Yet); establishing altar; and giving oblations one more time (called Chanh Te).
Offerings are placed on the table in front of Ba Chua’s statue, including a white pig, pig’s blood and hair (called ‘mao huyet’—hair and blood), sticky rice, fruits, areca and betel, rice and salt, and incense sticks.
Following is the timeline for the event:
BATHING THE STATUE: on the 23rd day at midnight and the 24th day at early morning
INVITING THOAI NGOC HAU'S SPIRIT: on the 24th day at 3PM
TUC YET: on the 25th day at midnight and the 26th day at early morning
ESTABLISHING ALTAR: right after Tuc Yet
CHANH TE: on the 26th day at 4AM
In addition, Thoai Ngoc Hau’s spirit will be returned back to his mausoleum on the 27th day of the fourth lunar month, at the afternoon.
TIME: 23rd-27th of 4th lunar month
PURPOSE: worship Ba Chua Xu for greater crops and happier, wealthier lives
ACTIVITIES: five ceremonies and entertaining activities