Ba Chua Xu Temple
At the foot of Sam Mountain, Vinh Te Commune, Chau Doc Town, An Giang province, VietnamPrices
Entrance fee: FreeOpening hours
Ba Chua Xu (Sam Mountain Lady) is the prosperity goddess of the Vietnamese folk religion, Thanism, and this is her temple. It was built about half way up Sam Mountain in the early 1800s after, legend has it, villagers discovered in the forest a female statue dating to the sixth century. The temple is constructed in what is commonly thought of as Chinese style, with four levels, and the tiled roofs have become green with age. Within is the statue of Ba Chua Xu, and locals come here to ask for protection.
Ba Chua Xu Temple has 4 square roofs, roofed with blue pile-shaped tiles. It is in the shape of Chinese character ‘国’ (meaning ‘kingdom’ or ‘country’)—it has foursquare roofs floored in blue tiles. The festival consists of five ceremonies: ‘bathing’ (actually washing) Ba Chua’s statue in which it is cleaned with scented water and changed costumes into new ones; inviting the spirit of Thoai Ngoc Hau—a general in Nguyen Dynasty—to the temple as a commemoration of his merit in reclaiming the land; sacrificing offerings (called Tuc Yet); establishing altar; and giving oblations one more time (called Chanh Te).
Offerings are placed on the table in front of Ba Chua’s statue, including a white pig, pig’s blood and hair (called ‘mao huyet’—hair and blood), sticky rice, fruits, areca and betel, rice and salt, and incense sticks.
Ba Chua Xu Festival is organized annually at the end of the 4th lunar month. A great festival is held annually from the 23rd to the 27th of the fourth lunar month with the 25th day being the most important. Worshippers touch her statue and ask for her protection and benediction. During the festival days, many traditional cultural activities and dances are organized.
Surrounding the temple are pleasant gardens and some small caves, and from up here there's a sweeping view of the surrounding countryside; on a clear day you can see neighboring Cambodia.