Erecting bamboo pole in Hue citadel to signify Tet

By Vo Thanh   February 8, 2021 | 01:34 pm GMT+7
The bamboo pole erecting tradition, originally intended to ward off the devil, became a symbol of Tet under the Nguyen Dynasty.
The Hue Monuments Conservation Center has organized the ‘cay neu’ (bamboo pole) erection ceremony for Tet (Lunar New Year) at The To Mieu Temple t the Hue Imperial Citadel. The To Mieu Temple is a sacred place built by the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Minh Mang, to commemorate emperors. Minh Mang is known for being strongly influenced by Confucianism and being at odds with western policies. The ceremony is held to celebrate the New Year and pray for another spring of good luck and good crops and ward off evil spirits.

The Hue Monuments Conservation Center last Thursday organized the ‘cay neu’ (bamboo pole) erection ceremony for Tet (Lunar New Year) at The To Temple in Hue Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO heritage site in the central town of Hue.
The To Temple is a sacred place built by the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Minh Mang (reigning 1820-1839), to commemorate emperors.
The ceremony is held to celebrate the Lunar New Year and pray for another spring of good luck and good crops and ward off evil spirits.

A procession of soldiers (modern soldiers or people dressed as imperial troops?) led by an official departs from Hien Nhon Gate for Trieu To Mieu Temple, Thai Hoa Palace and Hien Lam Pavilion.

The reenactment of a procession of soldiers led by an official departing from Hien Nhon Gate for Trieu To Temple, Thai Hoa Palace and then Hien Lam Pavilion in The To Temple.

10 soldiers carry the 15-meter Tet pole -- followed by a group of flag holding soldiers with royal court music artists performing along the way -- past the Ngu Phung (Five Phoenixes) Pavilion.

Ten soldiers carry the 15-meter Tet pole - followed by a group of flag holding soldiers with royal court music artists performing along the way - past the Ngu Phung (Five Phoenixes) Pavilion.

The center has prepared an offering (to whom?) of pork, chicken, sticky rice, and five fruits as part of the groundbreaking (??) ceremony.

The center has prepared an altar with offerings like pork, chicken, sticky rice, and five fruits.

During Minh Mang’s reign, an imperial seal would be hung on top of the pole to indicate administrative activities were suspended for the time being.

During Minh Mang’s reign, an imperial seal would be hung on top of the pole to indicate administrative activities were suspended for Tet.

All participants are in traditional attire but wear masks since the end of the fight against Covid-19 is still nowhere in sight.

All participants are in traditional attire but wear masks since the end of the country's fight against Covid-19 is still nowhere in sight.

Vo Le Nhat, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, kneels at the offering table along with colleagues with incense sticks to worship ancestors.

Vo Le Nhat, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, kneels at the offering table along with colleagues with incense sticks to worship ancestors.

Soldiers burn joss paper in the courtyard of the Hien Lam Pavilion.Soldiers burn joss paper in the courtyard of the Hien Lam Pavilion.

Soldiers burn joss paper in the courtyard of Hien Lam Pavilion.

The seal, parallel sentences and red flags are hung on top.

The seal, parallel sentences and red flags are hung on top.

Soldiers pull up the pole at the Hien Lam Pavilion in The To Mieu Temple.  During the Nguyen Dynasty era, people were only allowed to start celebrating Tet after the bamboo pole went up.

Soldiers pull up the pole at Hien Lam Pavilion in The To Temple.
During the Nguyen Dynasty era, people were only allowed to start celebrating Tet after the bamboo pole went up.

Another pole is erected at the Trieu To Mieu Temple.

Another pole is erected at Trieu To Temple.

The bamboo pole stands here until the seventh day of the lunar month and the seal is then unblocked to start the year.

The bamboo pole stands here until the seventh day of the first lunar month and the seal is then unblocked to start the year.

 
 
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