Built in 1832 in Xich Dang village, Hung Yen province, Xich Dang Temple of Literature hosted examinations and ceremonies to honor outstanding Confucians during feudal times.
It is one of 6 temples of literature that still exist today and the second oldest after the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. Thu Hoa has a story about this national cultural and historical relic.
Visiting Xich Dang Temple of Literature on a sunny day, Dao Thanh Thuy, who has lived in Germany for nearly 20 years, recalls her childhood memory: “We were born in Hanoi. My grandparents lived in Xich Dang village. When we visited them, we often climbed trees and over the gate of the temple and played around the bells. Previously, local people weaved mattresses here. The temple has been upgraded but its ancient beauty remains.”
Covering an area of 6,000 square meters, the temple comprises of a 3-door gate, a bell tower, a main worshiping hall, and worshiping towers.
The temple’s original architecture remains intact, symbolizing Hung Yen province, said Nguyen Thi Lien, a tour guide.
“The temple has two floors and 8 roofs. The design of the temple represents farmers’ desire for happiness and prosperity”, Lien said.
Dao Thanh Nam is Ms Thuy’s sister. Both are full of memories about their childhood in Hung Yen.
“Previously, people hang out straws and made them into a heap as high as the gate. It’s really fun to climb up the gate and then jump onto the straw heap and roll over. We pick longans in summer” said Nam.
There is also a hall exhibiting Hung Yen’s education. The worshipping hall dedicated to Confucius and teacher Chu Van An, the first Rector of the Temple of Literature, is decorated with parallel sentences and metal-plated pillars.
The tour guide, Ms Lien, further elaborates on the stone steles in the temple: “8 steles in the temple were set up in 1888 and another one in 1943. The 9 steles were engraved with the names, age, and positions of 168 among local 228 doctors. During the feudal rule, Vietnam had 2,898 doctors including 228 from Hung Yen. Hung Yen ranked 4th in Vietnam in the number of successful doctoral examinees.”