(QNO) - If you visit Vietnam in the first month of Spring, you will see a tall bamboo tree set up in the front gardent of a house or a temple. They are the Lunar New Year pole. Since the first days of the national history, the pole has been the most cacred symbol of the Vietnamese in the Lunar New Year Eve. It closely linked with a deep human culture legend .
|A Lunar New Yeardent of a temple pole in the front gar.|
Once a time, human being and devil lived together on the earth. The devils used their strong to appropriate all land and forced human being to work as slavers with stern conditions.
With the thinking “ Eating the top and giving the root”, when the rice harvest comes, the devils took all the top (paddy) and gave the workers the root (rice stubble). Knowing this story, in the second crop, the Buddha told human being to grow potato instead of rice. Another havest came, the devils took potato leaves only. The devils were very angree. In the third crop, they decided to go back the firstregulation, the human being grew rice and receive paddy. The next crop, the devils wanted to receive “both the top and the root”. Obeyed the Buddha, human being growed maize and take much food. The devils took back all land and human being had not any land to cultivate.
The Buddha told human being to buy a small land area as large as piece of monk’s robe, then grow a bamboo and hang a monk’s robe on it. The devils agreed and two sides signed a contract: the land inside the shade of the robe belongs to human being and land outside the shade of the robe belongs to the devils.
Over 50 temples, pagodas and churches in the villages, communes and governmental agencies in Hoi An Ancient Town will grow the pole in Lunar New year of the Horse with lanterns decoration art.
From 29th December (Lunar year), the old bamboo pone will b e grown with square shaped festival flag and colour plain flags at the top to welcome a prosperous and happy new year. Around the pone is decorated with lanterns, wind bells and other religious significance objects such as banian leaves, ananas leaves or a branch of catus. They are representative for the expectation of saving human, happiness for family. The pole will be fell on 7th Lunar January after a worship ceremony.
When the bamboo was grown, the Buddha stood on the top, shake the robe and the bamboo grew up rapidly to the heaven, the shade was larger and larger and covered the earth. The devils were defeated and had not any land to live. They had to withdrown to the sea. They asked the Buddha to permit them to visit the land in few days every year. The Buddha agreed.
So, every year , in the New Year Eve, the devils visited the land. To prevent the devils from doing bad things, the human being grew a pole. On the top of the pole, people hangs a baked clay pot. When the wind blows through, it makes the noise and the devils can not come to the people’s houses. This custom has been maintain from that day to now.
Growing a New Year Eve pole has become a good and popular custom of the Vietnamese. On the top of the pole, people hang some coconut leaves, chicken hair, a baked clay fish, a plaque, a bamboo round frame covered with a red paper, a lantern…In the Vietnamese concept, these things stand for properity, lucky and happy life. The bamboo tree is a symbol of Vietnamese spirit and character. It is raw material to build a new house in the past. Heavy storm can not break the bamboo down…
According to Oriental concept, the New Year pole is also a universal tree, it links the Earth and the Heaven. The bamboo round frame covered with a red paper stands for the Sun and the top of the pole is the stopping place of the Holly Bird (representative of the Sun). The New Year Eve pole will receive the spring fresh and safety wind and sunlight and gives them to all people in the family…
By Nguyen Kim Bao