Ong Bon Pagoda (Teo Chew Temple) Festival in Ho Chi Minh


chua ong bon 2

The Ong Bon pagoda is located in Hai Thuong Lan Ong street, district 5, Ho Chi Minh city with many big festivals every year. Especially, main festivals of pagoda is on full moon of January and August (lunar calendar).

Offerings are usually roasted pig, fresh pig, boil chicken, fruits, incense, etc. Crowd of Chinese people also bring offerings to the pagoda. Chinese people often buy cones – incense burners, hooked from a ceiling of Ong Bon temple in order to spread fragrant smoke during months later.

chua ong Bon

The Ong Bon pagoda is designed as square model, includes 4 long blocks, perpendicular to each other, create a courtyard in the middle. Looking from outside, the Ong Bon pagoda is outstanding with overlapped layers of curved roofs that are distinctive from other pagodas in Ho Chi Minh city as well as the whole country. The main hall displays a altar of Jade Emperor with a big copper incense burner. Over the altar have two horizontal lacquered boards “Phuc toan duc bi” and “Thich cap lam phong”. Such these artifacts was engraved in 1901 (27th King Quang Tu).

Going trough the courtyard, a row of concrete desk is used to placed offerings and we will see another horizontal lacquered board “Thân Lâm phước địa” in graceful calligraphy-like strokes. Under the horizontal lacquered board is a altar for placing offerings.

The altar “Phúc đức chính thần” (Mercy God) occupies the center position of the main hall with magnificent and splendid altar. The altar is painted in golden color, engraved with shapes of flowers, phoenix, etc. The altar room of the Mercy God has a wooden statue Ong Bon height of 1.5 meters and an ancestral tablet “Nhị Phủ Đại Bá Công”. The statue of Ong Bon shows an old man with generous and kind face, long white beard, comfortable sitting manner, one hand touches the beard. The jacket folds are loosed together with thoughtful gait. Below the statue are two other smaller statues like two pupils waiting to be ordered.

In general, the Ong Bon architecture is relatively simple but still creates solemn atmosphere of  religious foundation and expresses special cultural style of the Chinese in Ho Chi Minh city. Selecting Ong Bon as a God for worshipping is a notable characteristic of the religious beliefs of the Chinese people in Vietnam.

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