Ba Den Mountain Festival
Time: Spring Festival: From the 15th to the 18th day of the first lunar month; Via Ba Festival lasting from the 5th to the 6th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Ba Den Mountain, Tay Ninh Province.
Objects of worship: Linh Son Thanh Mau (Linh Son Saint Mother – Ba Den).
Characteristics: Two big festivals annually.
The Ba Den Mountain Spring Festival is much boisterous than Via Ba Festival. Pilgrims go there for religious reasons as well as for sightseeing. The landscape displays its beauty in the fine weather. In the 20km-long route from Tay Ninh to the foot of Ba Den Mountain pilgrims from near and far crowd the road.
Via Ba Festival
The festival is held on the 5th to the 6th day of the fifth lunar month. At 0:00 hours on the 5th day of the fifth lunar month the Tam Ba (the statue washing of the Sacred Lady) ceremony takes place solemnly in the worshipping altar. An elderly woman directs this ceremony. After burning incense to ask for the Lady?s permission, she and other assistants clean the statue with pure water, then with fragrant water. After three times of cleaning, they wear a new outfit for the statue and kow-tow before the statue. Lights inside the temple are switched on, incense burned, and doors open to welcome visitors.
Early in the morning of the 5th day of the fifth lunar month the chanting of Buddhist sutras signals the opening of the main festival day. Until 6 a.m monks in yellow outfit from nearby pagodas come to carry out the ritual in the ceremonial hall. During this day incense is burned continuously in the altars of Linh Son Thanh Mau, the Ba Chua Xu (Local Goddess), Buddha, or Ho Phap (Guardians).
Ten offerings presented to the altar of the Sacred Lady includes incense, oil lamp, flowers, tea, cinnamon, alcohol, vegetarian it cake, a pair of necklace, bracelet and earrings (three things of them are paper votive objects). Those serving the ceremony wear ceremonial costumes and walk to the accompaniment of music. After the incense offering ceremony, the monks pray the Buddhist sutras. The ceremony lasts two hours from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. On the 6th day of the fifth lunar month several rituals are held. The monks read Buddhist sutras in the altar dedicated to Buddha. The temple is open for pilgrims near and far from early in the morning until late at night.