The goddess who blesses businesses

By Kieu Duong   January 21, 2019 | 05:00 am PT
Many believe that Ba Chua Kho, the presiding deity at a temple in Bac Ninh Province, will help their business succeed.
The goddess who blesses businesses

Ba Chua Kho (Goddess Kho) temple in Co Me village, Bac Ninh Province, an hour east of Hanoi, has been famous for long with many people believing that she blesses devotees with success in their business. The pilgrims who come here are thus mainly businesspeople.

Around the Lunar New Year holidays and during the first month of each lunar new year, people come with votive offerings hoping to invoke the deity’s blessings.

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The three-doorway gate of the Goddess Kho Temple.

It's said the temple was built nearly 1,000 years ago, and was only renovated in 2016. The relic is recognized by the Ministry of Culture in 1989.

Kho was a native of Qua Cam village and made major contributions to agriculture, helping people prosper. Later she became a wife of one of the Ly Dynasty (1009 - 1225) kings, and helped the imperial court oversee a monetary reserve in the mountains of Kho, Co Me village.

She was killed resisting an invasion by the Chinese in 1077. The king mourned her death and deified her as a goddess, and his subjects built this temple to venerate her at the reserve where she used to work. 1,000 years later her name lives on.  

According to Bac Ninh's department of culture and information, the temple was originally a small shrine, which was later expanded during the Le and Nguyen Dynasty eras with the addition of small temples, the three-door gate and others. Together they became a venerable complex on the side of Kho mountain along the Cau River.

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The main worship hall.

According to Vietnamese beliefs, there are four gods who rule over each of heaven, mountains, rivers, and land.

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The First Palace, where Goddess Kho is worshipped, viewed through a gold-colored door.

This area is only opened during special occasions such as the Lunar New Year holiday Tet. Devotees can worship here for no more than 10 minutes.

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Most of the idols, including that of Goddess Kho, are placed in glass cases.

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A tourist from Hung Yen Province near Bac Ninh makes offerings of money through the First Palace's door.

Though not sure about the meaning of his action, he said: "It is like a duty to come at the end of the lunar year to pay my ‘debt’. I came here and performed rituals like others."

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Visitors burn symbolic offerings resembling money bills and gold so that they can enter the spiritual realm and can be used by the gods.

The Goddess Kho Temple is often mentioned as one of 'hottest' places as it's where a lot of votive gold is burnt during the Lunar New Year. People do not hesitate to spend millions of dong (VND1 million = $43) on this. They are convinced that the more offerings they make, the more the goddess would be pleased and bless them with success in their business.

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Close to the Goddess Kho Temple is a market selling offerings. It also provides a full range of services for those who are not experienced in making offerings at the temple, from writing tributes and arranging the offerings to offering them correctly.

The market also has people who will say prayers on behalf of visitors for a fee.

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A close-up look at a "standard" offering at the market with gold bars and coins. An offering tray costs anything between VND200,000 ($9) and millions of dong, depending on the needs of a pilgrim.

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