The Hồng Bàng Dynasty is the first dynasty ruled Vietnam. The foundation of Vietnamese culture is established during the Hồng Bàng Dynasty and developed throughout Vietnam’s history. Nowadays, this establishment and development are refered as Hùng Vương Culture. According to history, legends and local folktales, Hùng Vương Culture started near the plain of Bắc Bộ in Phú Thọ district. It has taken a great part in Vietnam’s history, custom, legend and belief. These are four different categories with different developments in Vietnam. However, under the influence of Hùng Vương Culture, these categories are closely related and their developments support each other. This makes Hùng Vương Culture became one of the most unique and influential cultures in Vietnam.
Perhaps because of political reasons, leaders and historians from the Lê Dynasty have taken and used some distinctive legends and folktales from the Phú Thọ district to represent Vietnam’s history. However, legends and folktales are sometimes bias to real history; they might not represent history completely. In addition, historians from the Lê Dynasty learned their way of writing history from Chinese historians who often input and consindered legends and folktales as parts of real history. This played a great role in how Hùng Vương Culture developed. The custom of worshipping Hùng Vương was just a local practice in ancient Vietnam, but it became widely popular and important to many Vietnamese people today. So, from a simple local practice, it became a continued custom of a nation to commemorate our ancestors. The fact that historians from the Lê Dynasty used distinctive legends and folktales to reprepresent Vietnam’s history has greatly influenced succesive historians and people’s thinking. Vietnamese people often refer Hùng Vương instead of Hồng Bàng as the first ruler of Vietnam.
Hùng Vương Culutre is very rich and diverse. Its influence made legends and folktales became real history. Therefore, there are several contradicted and bias historical information existed. This caused a lot of difficulties to research and study about Hùng Vương Culture. Now, there are still many unsolved debates about Hùng Vương Culture that needed to be clarify.
The title of this thesis is Hùng Vương Culture. The research focuses on four main categories including history, legend, custom and belief. Documents and information from China as well as local folktales from Phú Thọ district are used and discussed in this study.
This thesis has six chapters:
The first chapter is the introduction. In this chapter, we introduce the overall structure, discussion and procedure of the research. A table of content is also written here.
The second chapter discuss about the contradiction and relation between Chinese documents and Vietnamese documents on the study. In addition, there are discussions about how historians made legend and folktales became real history. The affection of this doing on successive historians and people’s thinking toward Hùng Vương is also discussed.
The third chapter focuses on the origin of Hùng Vương. We look at legends and folktales about Hùng Vương in agriculture, war, and defending the nation such as the tale of Sơn Tinh Thủy Tinh (a story about fending flood and drought) , the tale of Watermelon (story about planting seeds), and the tale of Phù Đổng Thiên Vương (story about fighting off invaders).
The fourth chapter analyzes the customs that are related or originated from Hùng Vương such as the custom of chewing betel nut, eating Banh Chung, and body tattooing.
The fifth chapter discusses about the custom of worshiping Hùng Vương. The development of worshiping Hùng Vương throughout the nation in each stage of history is the first main discussion. The next discussion in the chapter is about movements and opinions of Vietnamese government toward the custom of worshiping Hùng Vương.
The sixth chapter is the conclusion.