The Lord Mausoleum Festival

The Lord Mausoleum is located at the cross-section of Dinh Tien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu streets, Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Mirth City. It is where Le Van Duyet, a famous general under the reign of King Gia Long (1762-1820), is buried.
Le Van Duyet (1763-1832) was a native of My Tho province. He became one of the two close assistants of King Gia Long, who assigned him to govern the Gia Dinh region – the central region of South Viet Nam. In his capacity as governor, Le Van Duyet contributed much to developing the region and thus earned great respect from the population.
However, after his death, his adopted son, Le Van Khoi, staged an armed rebellion against King Minh Mang. However, the rebellion ended in failure. The leader, Le Van Khoi, was punished and his (dead) father, Le Van Duyet was charged with “having nurtured the rebel”. As a consequence, King Minh Mang had his tomb flattened. Here, a stone slab was erected with inscribed charges against Ly Van Duyet, which was kept in fetters (!)
Five years later, King Thieu Tri cleared Le Van Duyet of the previous charges. Moreover, he had a mausoleum built on the same place.
Now, at the mausoleum, there are tombs of Le Van Duyet and his wife and three ritual structures. The altar for the governor is placed in the central shrine where we can see his portrait allegedly painted when he was alive.
The mausoleum becomes particularly lively during the (Lunar) New Year festival when it is crowded with pilgrims, who wish to get “lucks from the Lord” (lucks are twigs of trees placed at the entrance to the Mausoleum).
The main festival of the Mausoleum is held in the 7th and 8th lunar months.
The tuc yet (making votive offerings) ritual is conducted on the nigh of the 30th day of the 7th lunar month, to the accompaniment of ritual music. The votive offerings include pork, sticky rice, fruits, betel chews, alcohol, tea, incense, etc.
The main festival truly starts in the morning of the 1st day of the 8th lunar month. All the participants get into line and walk around the tombs of the Lord and his wife. Then, they move into the principal shrine where the rituals of offering incense and reading an oration in honour of the Lord are conducted. When the oration and (fake) bank-notes have been burnt, the xay chau (artistic performance) ritual starts with the participation of a classical opera troupe. The repertoire varies with the years; yet the performance is always ended with the play Sen Hau, which was allegedly favoured by Le Van Duyet in his life-time.

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