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You are here:      Home News Tradition stands firm
Tradition stands firm

Dong Ngac VillageLocate just 10 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, the ancient village of Dong Ngac in Tu Liem District still maintains  traces of its past that separate it from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


Dong Ngoc village in Hanoi’s outlying area has six hamlets with more than 100 ancient houses built a century ago, many of which reflect the work of skilled artisans from the past with their intricately carved patterns.

 

The communal house is a solemn place for most Vietnamese villages and is where the village’s most important events take place.

The communal house at Dong Ngac Village has been in place for about 500 years and is the first thing to catch the eye of visitors. It was built on a dry, high patch of land near a dyke of the left and water lilies on the right.

The communal house displays various ancient relics dating back hundreds of years, such as lacquer paintings from the Le Dynasty. There are also wooden incense burners with elaborate patterns.

The village festival falls on the ninth of lunar February, featuring ca tru singing (love duets) and many ceremonies. Fresh sugarcane is presented as an offering to the ancestors.

Beside traditional games such as chess and cock – fighting, the Dong Ngac festival is also known for its signature game of that ho, which requires one team to fill in a blank line of poetry delivered by the other team.

Inside the village is an old pagoda called Tu Khanh, known in the past as Ve Pagoda. It’s believed that the pagoda’s bell was made in 315, and it’s now being restored. The bell is often rung on important village occasions and major holidays.

Even after hundreds of years the pagoda retains its bell – tower, a three – door temple gate and the forecourt. Its statues are believed to contain artistic elements from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Another village attraction is an ancestral house that honors Do The Giai, a senior official from the Le – Trinh era (The Trinh were the noble family that dominated northern Vietnam during most of the Ly Dynasty, from 1428 to 1788). We were greeted by Do Quoc Hien, who now looks after the house. He told us many interesting stories about the village. Time had touched the ancestral house, but its cultural value remains.

In these days can still see many engravings on the old gates in Dong Ngac. And in most ancestral houses there are parallel sentences written in Chinese characters, showing that elders in the village continually remind the younger generation of the importance of study and acquiring further knowledge.

This Dong Ngac, like many other villages in Vietnam, is moving forward with the pace of development. But traces of the past can still be seen here – in the old bricks on the narrow paths around the village and the stones in the pagoda.

 

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