sân khấu lệ ngọc

NGU BIEN 

A unique beauty of Vietnam

Hau dong (‘going into a trance’), a spirit possession ritual of the Mother Goddess Religion – one of the main religions in Vietnam, holds both spiritual and folk artistic meanings. People believe that the Mother Goddess is the supreme deity who has been reincarnated as the four Mother Goddesses – Heaven, Earth, Water and Mountain and Forests who look after all things. Mother Goddess religion has considered the above nature as mother and worships her. Additionally, it gives people living in this world three things: happiness, prosperity and longevity. These are eternal wishes of humankind. In 2016, practices related to the Viet’s belief in the mother of goddess was recognized as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of humanity.  

To bring the worship of Mother Goddesses close to the public, to retain the beauty of Vietnam’s cultural heritage and introduce it to a global audience, Ngu Bien – a uniquely creative and artistically inspired work of art that portrays a trance-like Hau Dong practice has been produced and received much attention from both local and more than 20 foreign countries. In the Hau Dong ritual, followers become mediums for 36 deities. Session involves a number of artistic elements, such as music, singing, dancing and the use of costumes that put the medium into a trance, where she/he can be possessed by the deities. During the “Ngu Bien” performance, five typical sessions were performed and demonstrated the worshipping Mother Goddess ‘s value such as Pure Heart – Beauty – Joy. 

Pure Heart 

A pure heart is the core value of the Mother Goddess worship.  The Mother teaches people to strive toward goodness in their thoughts and deeds, to worship their forefather, and to be grateful to those who have rendered great services to the country and people

Believing that the Mother Goddess always protects and brings good health and good fortune to them, 

Beauty

When the mediums incarnate the gods with the characteristic facial expressions and movements in the sacred space of the ritual. The audience experience a deep sense of beauty when they see incarnated deities dancing in their gorgeous costumes and listen to the music recalling the stories of national heroes and heroines as they sit in colorfully decorated ritual space.

Joy

The interaction between the medium (actor), audiences and musician in the ritual space generates an accelerating sense of joy until the ecstatic audience are able to forget all the sorrow of their daily life. This sense of joy grows when the audience receive distributions of the god’s spiritual and material’s favor (loc) in the belief that a fragment of the gods’ favor is equal to a load of earthly fortune. 

“The worshipping of the Mother Goddesses

also contributes to the appreciation of women

and their roles in society.” (UNESCO’s inscription, 2016)

MOTHER GODDESS

People believe that the Mother Goddess is the supreme deity who has been reincarnated as the four Mother Goddesses – Heaven, Earth, Water and Mountain and Forests who look after all things. The Mother Goddess is worshipped in spacious palaces and temples and on small household altars in different configurations together with local deities.
Mother Goddess worshippers consider her to be the mother of everyone who always protects and supports them, giving them luck, strength and faith to overcome natural disaster, misfortune, and ailments. Additionally, it gives them three things: happiness, prosperity and longevity. These are eternal wishes of humankind.

“Mother Goddess worship is wonderful. It teaches us to remember the source when drinking the water. It also venerates our ancestors and educates everyone to do good things. Worshipping the Mother Goddess, I pray for the happiness of my family”.
(Tran Thi Duyen, 81, Temple Keeper, Tien Huong Palace, Vu Ban Districts, Nam Dinh Provinces)