Culture Culture

02/01/2021 - 17:35

Re-enactment of Ban Soc ceremony under the Nguyen Dynasty 

On the first day of 2021, Hue Monuments Conservation Center re-enacted the Ban Soc Ceremony under the Nguyen Dynasty (also known as the calendar announcement ceremony) and opened the Ngo Mon space for tourism. The event welcomed the presence of the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee - Phan Ngoc Tho.

Ban Sóc was the celebration to officially issue the calendar under the Nguyen Dynasty, held periodically at the end of the lunar year

Ban Soc was the celebration to officially issue the calendar under the Nguyen Dynasty, held periodically at the end of the lunar year. Because the ancient Vietnamese people heavily relied on agricultural economy, the calendar was of immense significance as it helped the farmers keep track of time for farming activities and beware of weather changes to adapt to disasters and extreme weather conditions.

The Ban Soc ceremony was formally held as Emperor Minh Mang started to reign. Every year, after Kham Thien Giam (Directorate of Imperial Observatory) finished composing the calendar, the court held the Ban Soc ceremony under the direction of two officials from Bo Le (The Board of Rites) and Kham Thien Giam. The calendar first made its way to the palace for royal use, then to the mandarins in the Imperial City and other localities, and finally to the masses.

For the first time in 180 years, also in the year of the Metal Ox, the Ban Soc ceremony was re-enacted on stage with dramatic old etiquette and rituals. The ceremony was to honor our ancestors’ cultural heritage and to serve as a chance for visitors and local people to experience Hue's heritage values on the first day of a new year.

* On this occasion, Hue Monuments Conservation Center also opened the Ngo Mon space after this section had been fully restored as part of a larger-scale project of preserving and remodeling the Ngo Mon relic site in phase 2.

The Ngo Mon (Noon Gate) space had been fully restored

The complete renovation and restoration project of the Ngo Mon relic site in phase 2 receives a total investment budget of about 44 billion VND (nearly $1.9 billion), including: Gilding all wooden structures of Ngu Phung Pavilion (The Pavilion of Five Phoenixes) (its two main floors and Ta, Huu Duc Lau (The Left and Right Pavilion) using traditional gilding techniques; renovating the Ngo Mon area including its yard, the deck of the bridge over Kim Thuy lake, Trung Dao bridge, guardrail system of Kim Thuy lake, Thai Dich lake, "Khuynh cai ha ma" stele (reminding passers-by to take off hats and dismount), green trees, lighting system, interior architecture ...

Up to now, the Ngo Mon Gate has been fully restored. In the coming time, Hue Monuments Conservation Center will continue to figure out how to re-enact meaningful events associated with this relic site under the Nguyen dynasty, such as Truyen Lo ceremony (doctorate proclamation ceremony), Ban Soc ceremony (calendar announcement ceremony) combined with other special topic exhibitions ...

Ngo Mon Gate functioned not only as the main entrance to the Royal Palace but also as a ceremonial stage for many important events of the Nguyen court.

Some photos in the Ban Soc ceremony with the old etiquette and rituals:

The Ban Soc ceremony included many rituals: Starting the ceremony, during the ceremony, issuing the royal edict of the new calendar ...

The calendar to enter the Royal Palace

The calendar was bestowed upon the Princes and other royal dukes

The calendar entered the Royal Palace for royal use

The calendar was distributed to the mandarins in the Imperial City and other localities

Gifting calendars to locals and visitors

By Minh Hien