On the basis of the royal materials, Hue Monuments Conservation Center held Neu pole setting up ceremonies in the royal palace
In the life of Hue Royal Palace, before Tet, people held the Neu pole setting up ceremonies to announce the coming of the Lunar New Year. The original purpose was to celebrate Tet, then to worship the spirits to bless the royal members for a safe year, and to wish for the ancestors’ blessing for their descendants. The royal court set up the Neu pole also to pray for a good year with favorable weather and profitable business for the people.
According to the custom, when seeing the Neu pole from the walls of the old royal palace, the people began to set up the Neu pole for Tet in their houses, worship the spirits and their ancestors, and drew the lime walls to eliminate demons. The date and time of setting up the Neu pole of the people followed the royal court’s one.
On the basis of the royal materials, Hue Monuments Conservation Center conducted the ritual of setting up the Neu pole in the royal palace so as to create a joyful atmosphere on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.
Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Hai Trung, Deputy Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said: “The practice of setting up the Neu pole in Tet holiday is a meaningful ritual in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people since ancient times, which has been formed, preserved, inherited and promoted in many different forms. This is a ritual appearing popularly in the folk life, in Buddhism, and the royal life of the Nguyen dynasty”.
Following are some photos captured at the Neu pole setting up ceremonies:
The Neu pole setting up ceremonies were conducted according to the royal court ritual
The procession of the Neu pole was solemnly organized
The seal, votive paper, areca, betel, and offering petition to be hung on the Neu pole
The reenactment of the ritual of setting up the Neu pole brings to the people the features of the old royal court
The rituals of welcoming the gods, offering wine, offering tea, and celebrating great rejoicings.
Hanging up the seal on Neu pole (In the old days, the royal court hung the seal on Neu pole to announce the end of working days, and starting days off for Tet holiday)
The Neu pole is a bamboo one being carefully selected, with a hard and straight trunk.
For generations, the image of the Neu pole has been considered a sacred symbol of the Lunar New Year for Vietnamese people
Story and photos: Minh Hien