Visiting Tay Ninh and Taking part in Caodaism Festival

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Every year on mid August month, in Tay Ninh cathedral takes place Dragon dances at Yen Dieu Tri Cung big festival.

If you visit Tay Ninh one week before mid-autumn festival, you surely will perceive hustling atmosphere here. Everything in the cathedral (roads, bonsai trees, flower pots) is renewed. Main gate is decorated and stalls surround Buddhist’s Mother Shrine are also erected.

In Caodaism, the great festival Hoi Yen Dieu Tri Cung is held in Tay Ninh cathedral only but not in elsewhere.

On festival, looking at main worshipping room, you will see hundreds of exhibition booths displaying offerings.  Those are normal flowers and fruits but through talented hands of craftsmen, they become colorful and lively products in theme: dragon, lion, turtle, phoenix, etc.

Traditionally, the rite is conducted on 15 lunar calendars, lasts to 12 pm at the same day with many activities such as procession of Buddhist’s Mother and nine fairies, dragon dance, phoenix dance. In which, the procession of Buddhist’s Mother is held in most large scale, behind is a group of music, drums, dancers and lion dancers.

Especially, Incense Dragon dance is a typical activity of Tay Ninh. The dragon has 20 meters long and controlled by 30 dancers. Just stay in distance, you will see a light area; incense smoke moves continuously that make viewers realize power and solemnity of the sacred dragon. The incense Dragon moves slowly toward the cathedral.

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Images of the incense dragon dance at Tay Ninh cathedral

Because it is a big festival of Caodaism believers, tourists also experience interesting activities: performances of martial arts, poem making, Chinese chess, etc. Especially, tourists have chance to enjoy delicious and unique vegetarian meals. This is the biggest and happiest social vegetarian meal.

From 4 am to 10 pm, pilgrims are able to visit and enjoy the meal. It is estimated that the number may reach up 25,000 people. On rainy days of autumn, Caodaism believers and pilgrims still come to take part in the festival. The festival Yen Dieu Tri Cung is a beautiful activity of Tay Ninh province in general and Caodaism in particular. The festival contains both spiritual values and active ones on daily life.

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