More than 3,000 people from Vietnam's central provinces attended a folk festival marking the birthday of Thien Y A Na, the goddess of the nation, held in the ancient city of Hue on April 6-7.
She is also known as Lady Po Nagar, the Cham deity from whom she originated. In the past, villagers erected temples worshiping the goddess of the earth, trees and animals when they established new villages.
During the festival, worshipers welcome statues of Thien Y A Na and offer them incense, food, tea, alcohol, betel, areca and fruits. They also celebrate hau dong or trance ceremonies in which mediums dress in colored silk robes to represent deities who are believed to bless people with health, luck, wealth and protection.
They carry statues of the goddess on decorated boats some 20 kilometers from the headquarters of the goddess worship group to the main Hon Chen Temple dating from the 19th century.