Culture Culture

12/09/2019 - 07:28

Royal meals on death anniversaries - unique tourism product in Hue

In the effort of improving the quality and economic efficiency of tourist services related to the imperial court, it is suggested that Thua Thien-Hue Province should develop on its own initiative the tourism product of serving royal meals on the death anniversaries of the kings every year.

Royal meals - unique tourism product in Hue, photo: Duc Quang

The idea is initiated by Dr. Tran Dinh Hang, Head of Vietnam Culture and Art Institute in Hue. According to Dr. Hang, doing this is not difficult. The important thing is the close and long-standing cooperation between the Nguyen Phuc Family Council and Hue Monuments Conservation Center. 

Every city throughout Vietnam has its own folk festivals, but only in Hue are there royal festivals and Hue is the only place that has the ability to recover and reproduce them in our contemporary life.

Besides the fact that the Nguyen Dynasty was the most recent one of all, Hue is the only ancient capital city which conserves pretty fully the complex of royal monuments of the golden time. 

Reproducing the ceremony of the erection of cay neu (New Year pole) at The Mieu (Temple of Generations) in the Imperial City. Photo: Thu Thuy

According to Phan Thuan An, a researcher on Hue culture, royal festivals of the Nguyen Dynasty are of two types: Tiet le and Te tu. Tiet le are monthly rituals such as Le Dai trieu at Palace of Supreme Harmony, Le Thuong trieu at Can Chanh Palace; 3 Le Dai tiet every year are Lunar New Year’s Day, Tet Doan duong on the 5th of May, Tiet Van tho on the kings’ birthdays; Le Tich Dien in the field in summer; Le Ban soc (distributing calendars); Coronations, Great Funerals, etc.

Le Te tu include Nam Giao Festival at Nam Giao Esplanade, Xa Tac Festival, Le te Liet Mieu at ancestry temples, Le te at Temple of Generations worshipping the deceased Nguyen Kings, Le te at Temple of Literature, etc.

In our present-day modern life, royal festivals of the Nguyen Dynasty can be recovered with the aim of meeting the need of enjoyment and cultural exchanges as well as the spiritual need of each man. 

Previously when discussing “Royal festivals of the Nguyen Dynasty as seen from cultural and tourist perspectives of today,” the researcher Phan Thuan An stressed that Hue can select and recover appropriate special royal festivals for cultural and tourist purposes.

“Hue boasts in itself an enormous treasury of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. We can step by step recover royal festivals which are of great historical, cultural and traditional values. Hue royal festivals now become a spiritual cultural heritage and the most high-class tourism product. They enliven and increase the value of the architectural monuments. It would be too late if we do not start to do it by now. The point is how culture managers and tourism planners in the area organize and implement them,” suggested he.

Provincial leaders in Xa Tac Festival. Photo: Duc Quang

For years, now and then, Hue Monuments Conservation Center has invited media representatives in the province to attend the death anniversaries of Lord Nguyen Hoang, or those of the emperors such as Gia Long, Thanh Thai, Duy Tan, etc. The formal atmosphere at the ceremonies evoked in the attendees many sacred feelings beyond description. 

According to Dr. Tran Dinh Hang, the ancient capital of Hue has a complex of royal mausoleums, temples and phu de (big houses especially built for grown-up princes and princesses who began to move out to live their independent lives). It is a waste if we do not organize services concerning the life in the past. Designing tourist activities and services on the death anniversaries of the Nguyen Kings is quite feasible. 

If agreed, death anniversary dates, monthly and yearly rituals in the Imperial City and at the royal mausoleums should be made public; then entrepreneurs are encouraged to take part in. 

Tourist entrepreneurs are in charge of promoting, connecting with tourists and organizing services. Those tourists who want to participate must buy tickets.

“In order to attend anniversaries, tourists must dress up appropriately and offer incense, hence experiencing real sacred royal rituals. The menus for royal meals after ceremonies must be appropriate and well prepared. When the service is connected with a specific character and specific space, tourists’ feelings about royal meals after ceremonies are certainly different from those about royal meals at restaurants and hotels,” said Dr. Tran Dinh Hang.

According to Dr. Hang, this very royal Hueish service will make a difference and suit tourists who want to learn about traditional cultural values and the historical origin. If done well, it will be a tourism product unique to Hue Ancient Capital.

Story: Dong Van