Quan The Am – Marble Mountains Festival: a spiritual event in the heart of a busy city

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The Quan The Am Festival (Quan The Am is the Vietnamese name of Guanshiyin, a female Bodhisattva. She is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English) involves rituals and Buddhist activities, and takes place at the Marble Mountains which is 8 km southeast from the vibrant and bustling centre of Da Nang City.

 

Every year, on 19th February (Lunar calendar), thousands of domestic and foreign visitors, especially the Buddhist community return to the holy land of the Marble Mountains to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Quan The Am Festival.

 

The Festival atmosphere (source: Da Nang Portal)

 

Not only does the Festival meet the religious and spiritual needs of the local people and visitors, but it also contributes to preserving and promoting the national cultural identity and preserving traditional values and rituals.

 

This year, the Festival will take place over three days from 14th to 16th March (corresponding to 17th to 19th February, the year of the Rooster, Lunar Calendar) with two parts including ceremony (religious and other formal activities) and entertainment (games and performing arts).

 

There are various unique ceremonies such as the Lighting Parade, Opening Buddhist Sutra (aphorism), Spring Prayer for Peace and Prosperity, and Guanshiyin Workshop.

 

In terms of entertainment, participants can enjoy many activities inclusive of a traditional Kung Fu performance, Sino-Vietnamese calligraphy exhibition, drum performance, Bai Choi traditional music concert, local boat race, and lotus water lanterns.

 

The Festival will also hold the opening ceremony of the "Run for Peace and Public Health", a meaningful activity that is integrated into the festival content with the purpose of raising awareness about public health as well as to demonstrate the principles of Buddhism about loving peace and humanity.

 

In particular, there are a lot of unique Japanese art performances such as Japanese calligraphy, Ikebana flower arrangement, and traditional dances from famous artists from the land of cherry blossoms.

 

 

The Quan The Am Festival is a unique national festival. Thanks to its distinctive values, the festival can be seen as a channel to promote the city image to both domestic and international visitors.

 

The Festival was first held in 1960 with the purpose of celebrating the accomplishment of the Guanshiyin Statue in Hoa Nghiem Cave, Thuy Son Mountain (Water Mountain, one of five elemental mountains of the Marble Mountains). Due to several reasons, including the Viet Nam War, the Festival had not been held, and then returned to be held annually from 1991 (19th February, the year of the Goat, Lunar Calendar) until now.

Vo Duy Hoa translated

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