Phuoc Hai Pagoda Festival in Ho Chi Minh city

 

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The festival of Phuoc Hai pagoda is annually held on 9th January (lunar calendar) at 73 Mai Thi Luu street, near Da Kao market, Da Kao ward, district 1.

Ngoc Hoang pagoda or Ngoc Hoang palace or now called Phuoc Hai pagoda is located at at 73 Mai Thi Luu street, Da Kao ward, district 1, Ho Chi Minh city. Ngoc Hoang pagoda was started building in 1892 by a Chinese man name Luu Minh. It had not been completed until 1900 but inaugurated in 1906. The pagoda’s first name is Ngoc Hoang palace (palace of Jade Emperor). The French called Da Kao pagoda. In 1982, the pagoda joined The Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam with monk Thich Vinh Khuong, then changed name into Phuoc Hai pagoda.

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Most statues here are made of wood. Particularly, Ngoc Hoang statue is the biggest one in the pagoda. The head wears a big hat, two hands hold arrows. His face is uneventful, not happy, not sad, open eyes, big nose, square face shape, wide and high cheeks, four long beard down to his shoulders. The left chamber includes statues worshipping Kim Thoa mother and 12 midwives and other nurses. This chamber is used for people who are hard to bear child. Next room is Hades palace.  Between Kim Thoa mother room and Hades room is statues worshipping Guan Yin,  Jade One and Golden Child, etc.

The festival takes place on 1st or 15th of every month (lunar calendar) especially in main mid-month in year such as: 15th of January, July, or October. Pilgrims visit the pagoda up to thousands. However, the festival attract the most crowded customers is on occasion of soul calling of Jade Emperor on 9 January every year.

On this occasion, at previous night 8th of January, the monk will chant for peace. On the day of 9th, tens of thousands of tourists come to worship, including both Chinese and Vietnamese people. Incense smoke spirals up both inside and outside house. In popular belief of the Chinese in Ho Chi Minh city, the Jade Emperor Pagoda can be considered as one of the attractive places for foreign visitors to visit and worship.

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