14:47 | 02/02/2016 Society
The Cay Neu (Neu pole) erecting ceremony, a traditional activity in the run up to the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, was re-enacted at the Hue Imperial Citadel, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, on February 1.
Ritual items are hung on the top of the Neu pole, including a royal seal, a paper scroll and pen (Credit: dantri.com.vn)The 15-metre bamboo pole was carried by ten costumed soldiers in a procession from the Hien Nhon Gate through the Thai Hoa (Supreme Harmony) Palace to arrive at the Ancestral Temple, where it was put up to the backdrop of ceremonial music and smoke from burning incense.
The erecting of the Neu pole on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, which is February 1 this year, marks the beginning of Tet. It coincides with the day when the Kitchen Gods are believed to ride carp fish to the Heavens to report on events from the past year.
Similar Neu pole erecting ceremonies will also be held at different places in the Complex of Hue Monuments from now to the last day of the lunar year.
During 143 years of reign (1802-1945), the Nguyen Dynasty held an annual ceremony to erect the Neu pole at the Imperial Citadel. The pole had ritual items on its top such as a royal seal, a paper scroll and pen, which imply that the royal court stopped working during Tet.
Under the Nguyen Dynasty, ordinary people would erect a Neu pole after the pole was set up at the Imperial Citadel.
The Neu pole is also believed to ward off ghosts and demons from entering the community during Tet. It would also direct ancestors seeking the path home for the Lunar New Year holiday.
It will be taken down on the seventh day of the first lunar month to mark the end of the Tet celebration./.