The opening ceremony of the 2019 Bai Dinh Pagoda festival was held in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, the northern province of Ninh Binh on February 10 or the 6th day of the lunar new year.
Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thi Thanh beat the drum to kick off the festival, which saw the participation of dignitaries from the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and thousands of Buddhist followers.
The participants offered incense to pray for favourable weather and bumper crops.
Bai Dinh Pagoda, which was built thousands of years ago, has become one of the standout landscapes of the ancient capital. The pagoda has been upgraded and expanded, representing the Party’s and State’s attention to the freedom of belief and religion.
The new Bai Dinh Pagoda, also known as Bai Dinh Buddhism Spiritual Centre, covers 700ha, and is the largest in Viet Nam in terms of size. “Bai Dinh” means “the worship of heaven and earth, Buddha and celestial angels”. The pagoda is part of the Trang An Landscape Complex, which was recognised as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2014.
It is now holding several national record-setting relics, including the largest bronze Buddha statue (150 tonnes), the largest bronze bell (30 tonnes), and the largest number of Arhat statues (500).
The festival will last until the end of the third lunar month.