Dong Da festival, Vietnam

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This item appears on page 64 of the November 2017 issue.

The Dong Da festival, commemorating Emperor Quang Trung’s defeat of Qing (Chinese) troops in 1789 on Dong Da Hill, located in modern Hanoi, is held annually on the fifth day of the first lunar month of the Vietnamese calendar (Feb. 20 in 2018). 

Festivities begin at Khuong Thuong temple in Hanoi, then a procession heads up Dong Da Hill with the Thang Long Fire Dragon, a symbol of victory made of straw and paper. A small reenactment of the battle is performed by martial artists, and the story is retold. Performers wear traditional costume.

A national hero in Vietnam, Emperor Quang Trung (birth name, Nguyen Hue) was a reformer during the Tay Son dynasty, which helped shape modern Vietnam.