Urbanist Hanoi

BackHeritage » Vietnam » [Photos] Emperor Bao Dai's 1942 Offering of Worship to Heaven and Earth

[Photos] Emperor Bao Dai's 1942 Offering of Worship to Heaven and Earth

Throughout Vietnam’s imperial era, ceremonial rituals were an indispensable part of a local monarch’s reign. One such celebration was Nam Giao, an annual ceremony of utmost importance in the king’s calendar.

Nam Giao was a special occasion honoring heaven and earth, conducted by only the king to validate his dynasty’s existence in the eyes of the gods.

The ritual predates the Nguyen Dynasty, but only during the reign of the Nguyen kings were Nam Giao celebrations properly organized and routinely executed. In the 79 years of their independence, from 1807 to 1885, Nguyen monarchs religiously carried out the ceremony every spring at Dan Nam Giao, a special altar in Hue built just for the occasion. This space still exists today and is now akin to a park, though few people visit.

However, the event disappeared in 1945 after the monarchy was disbanded. The altar also fell into disrepair. Only in recent years has the structure been slowly restored after UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1993.

Have a look at a Nam Giao ceremony conducted in 1942, just three years before the practice’s demise, courtesy of Flickr user manhhai:

[Photos via Flicker user manhhai]


Related Articles:

- [Photos] Early 1980s Hanoi on the Brink of Doi Moi

- [Photos] Here's What Hanoi Looked Like In 1905

[Photos] The Bygone Days of 1920s Vinh Long


Related Articles

in Vietnam

A Rare Look Inside the Hue Imperial Court in 1895 in Watercolor

'La cour de Hue' (The court of Hue) is a series of painting done by Nguyen Van Nhan in 1895, during the reign of Thanh Thai, emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty at the time.

in Vietnam

Street Cred: Chu Van An, Vietnam's Educator Extraordinaire

This week’s Street Cred brings you the story of one of Vietnam's most beloved educators, Chu Van An.

in Vietnam

Street Cred: Thich Quang Duc, the Monk Who Set Himself on Fire

Despite his peaceful nature, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc is known today as “the monk who set himself on fire,” serving as a symbol of protest against religious discrimination. In today’s ...

in Vietnam

The Reunification Game: How a 1976 Football Match Brought North & South Together

In early 1976, shortly after the dust had started to settle in a now-unified Vietnam, Le Buu, general director of the country’s Sports Administration Department, was tasked with heading to Saigon to a...

in Vietnam

[Photos] 16 Rare Images of 1900s Vietnam as Part of French Indochina

In a mishmash of sketches and grainy photographs, Vietnam’s landscapes in the 1900s feels almost surreal.

in Vietnam

[Photos] 18 Rare Photos of Northern and Central Vietnam in the Late 19th Century

During the 19th century, postcards were one of the most popular forms of media that connected Vietnam with the rest of the world.