The Custom of Worshipping the Mother of the Nation
For thousands of years, the Vietnamese people have considered Mother Au Co as an immortal symbol of the spiritual life’s roots. She is considered Mother of the Nation who was credited with giving birth to the Vietnamese. Particularly, this respect has imbued the Vietnamese people’s cultural consciousness and has become a unique religious form which is connected with the Vietnamese people’s custom of worshipping the mother. According to researchers, this special faith and worshipping originated from the custom of worshipping the ancestors, which have existed for thousands of years and practised by people of the
Today, coming to Phu Tho, visitors will have an opportunity to visit the temple dedicated to Mother of the Nation, Au Co, in Ha Hoa District. The temple was built in 1465 in the dynasty of King Le Thanh Tong. There is Loan Well on the left side of the temple and Phuong Well on the right side. In front of the temple is situated Giac Mountain which looks like a table and behind the temple is the winding Red River which looks like a sacred dragon. Around the temple there are verdant trees with aroma spreading all year round.
The temple dedicated to Mother Au Co consists of five compartments for worshipping rituals and three harems which are decorated with valuable wooden carvings of four sacred animals and four seasons. The statue of Mother Au Co is 0.95m high, in the shape of the mother sitting imposingly on the throne, wearing a red shirt with a white brassiere, a crown adorned with diamonds and a golden necklace and holding a pearl on her hand. It is a statue of high artistic and aesthetic values, which was carved during the Le Dynasty. Inside the temple, there are many precious relics, such as the statue of Duc ong, dragon throne, worship table, etc., which are carved with delicate patterns.
The story of Mother Au Co is known to everybody. However, in our recent trip to Phu Tho, a cultural researcher introduced to us a relic site considered the place worshipping the progenitor of the mother of the nation, i.e., the first progenitor of the Vietnamese. Introducing the biography of King Kinh Duong Vuong, the book “Dai Viet su ky toan thu” (A complete history of Great Viet) writes: “The King (Kinh Duong Vuong) married the daughter of Dong Dinh Quan, namely Than Long who gave birth to Lac Long Quan”. Thus, according to this book, Than Long is the mother of King Lac Long Quan (who is considered the founder of the Vietnamese nation) and the paternal grandmother of King Hung. It also means that Than Long was the mother-in-law of Au Co, Mother of the Nation.
After many ups and downs through history, the temple worshipping Than Long has been re-built on the old foundation in Tien Cat Ward of Viet Tri City, Phu Tho Province by the local people. In the past, the temple was