Every year, on the occasion of Lunar March (March 23rd), a ceremony of worshiping the lady Thien Hau is usually held in Fujian Assembly Hall and Duong Thuong Assembly Hall in Hoi An. The festival is called the birth anniversary of the lady Thien Hau. This festival is derived from the beliefs of the Chinese merchants, because the day before they often used to sail across the sea, travel everywhere to trade and exchange goods. On their dangerous sea voyage, people faced with natural disasters and danger , but strangely each time they are facing disaster they were usually rescued by a sea goddess, they believe that it is Thien Hau Thanh Mau, the lady help the ship to survive and continue plain sailing.
According to the legend, the lady Thien Hau comes from Bo Dien District, Man Province (now called Fujian Province). She was born in March 23rd 960. When she was thirteen, she was taught “Nguyen Trung Bi Phap” by a hermit, and at the age of sixteen she had a marvelous masses and had the ability of flexible transmutation. More 13 years later, on lunar September 9th , she flied straightforward up to the sky in broad daylight from a mountain named My Chau. Since then, she used to help people, especially rescue boats in distress at sea and save them from the disaster.
This festival is organised in a widely decorated space thanks to colourful flowers and lanterns carrying Chinese traditional design. It comprises two parts, the first one is Chinese worshiping rituals while the second one comprises of many traditional and cultural display such as music, dance, parades, oracles and fairs, fortune telling. In general, activities of lion dance, unicorn dance and many other kinds of lottery games are the most attractive ones for both local and foreign tourists.
The festival of the lady Thien Hau’s Birth Anniversary is one kind of traditional customs of Chinese merchants in Hoi An ancient town. This is the festival with various nuance of China, has contributed to enrich the festival activities in Hoi An. So we need to maintain and promote for the festival to enrich it and make it more abundant and diverse for intangible cultural heritages of Hoi An.