Peg-Top Game in Phu Ung Temple Festival
Located on sacred land with open space, Ung temple has become fascinating spiritual destination for both domestic tourists and foreign tourists. Ung Temple, which is also called Phu Ung Temple, situates in Phu Ung commune, An Thi district, Hung Yen province. The temple worships General Pham Ngu Lao, an excellent person of the village, a talented general, who was admired by the Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan admired, and later became his son-in-law.
Every year, when the spring comes, Ung Temple festival happens according to the weather. The festival begins on January 1st and ends on January 25th; the main festival is from January 11 to January 15. Ung Temple festival is held to remember the day when General Pham Ngu Lao fought the enemy to save the nation and to pray the best thing for the family. On the days of the main festival, many traditional games and cultural activities are taken place such as peg-top game, human chess, lion dance, Quan Ho singing, etc. Among these activities, peg-top game is the most special traditional games which was used in the past by General Pham Ngu Lao to train for his soldiers.
Peg-top: it was formerly made from banana roots. The peg-top should be circular with a diameter of 30cm and its weight of 5kg - 7kg. After whittling, peg-top is cleaned plastic, boiled over boiling water and put into sunshine to have essential plastic. A five-six- year peg-top, which is made of nacre, is currently preserved in Ung temple. This peg-top is only used for worshipping in the temple.
Team: the number of players is not limited; the players are divided into two teams; each team may be 7, 10 , 11 , or more players. These are strong young men of the village. Each team is half-naked, wear loin-cloths, wear different colored belts on their heads to distinguish.
Playground: is a large playground, which is with 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. At the begining of the each team's yard, there are 02 baskets made of bamboo which are used as golfs for the competitors to put the peg-top inside. In the middle of the playground, an across is drawn to distinguish the yard of each team; and a small hole is dug to put the peg-top before the game starts.
Rules: Both teams have equal number of players. Before the beginning of the game, two teams line up in two rows to begin ceremony in front of the temple. The referee takes the peg-top to put into the small hole in the middle of the playground and give an order to start the game. Two teams try to put the peg-top into the competitor's basket; the team is winner if they put more peg-top into the competitor's basket. The game is very animated, which attracts lots of audiences coming to encourage and watch the game.
Since ancient times, the village does not have a specific law, but there is no rough and malice play in the game. At the end of the game, the team with more peg-tops in the competitor's basket will be the winner; the prize is only symbolic. The biggest value is the spiritual gift of both players and viewers.