Waiting for Ponagar Temple Festival 2021 to open
Update: Apr 28, 2021
The organizers of Ponagar Temple Festival 2021 and Khanh Hoa Provincial Monument Preservation Center have been carrying out the preparations for the opening of Ponagar Temple Festival 2021 to ensure the festival can take place solemnly and safely.
Complying with COVID-19 regulations
This year’s Ponagar Temple Festival takes place from May 1 to 4 (lunar March 20 to 23). The scale and way of organization of the 2021 festival have been changed to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines.  
Accordingly, the festival still includes the essential religious rituals, but the festive acts will be cut down to ensure the safety for the attendees. The organization committee of the 2021 Ponagar Temple Festival has received the registration of more than 100 groups of pilgrims. All the pilgrims are required to make medical declarations. Each group of a maximum of 15 pilgrims is given seven minutes for the acts of worship inside the main temple. During the festival, the temple is open from 6am to 10pm every day. 
Visitors reading information about the program of Ponagar Temple Festival 2021
Besides, the organizers don’t set up eating and resting sections for pilgrims inside the precincts of Ponagar Temple as the previous festivals. This years’ festival will also not include palanquin procession and flower lights releasing on Cai River. The ritual dances expressing gratitude to Thien Y A Na Holy Mother will be performed with no more than 20 people allowed on the stage. 
Khanh Hoa Provincial Department of Culture and Sports has sent documents to the localities in Ninh Thuan Province where Cham people live to inform the pilgrims about the new regulations of the festival. Other groups of pilgrims have also been notified of the information. 
According to Tran Dinh Dung, director of Khanh Hoa Provincial Monument Preservation Center, the pilgrims are very eager for the opening of the 2021 Ponagar Temple Festival after a year of cancellation. The organization committee has monitored more closely the preparations and organization to comply with COVID-19 prevention and control measures. The information boards and hand sanitizers have been erected and placed at many places at Ponagar Temple. The visitors to the temple during the festival will have body temperature checked and be required to wear masks throughout their attendance. After closing time at 10pm every day, the whole Ponagar Temple will be disinfected.
Preserving beauty of Ponagar Temple Festival
Ponagar Temple Festival was recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as a national intangible cultural heritage. Every year, on the occasion of the festival, people from many localities in and outside Khanh Hoa are eager to attend the festival. In addition to implementing the measures to prevent and control the pandemic, all the preparations for the festival have been carried out with thoroughness.
The opening ceremony will take place on the morning of May 2 (lunar March 21). The festival will feature traditional ritual acts such as changing the Holy Mother’s dress, praying for nation’s peace and prosperity, and offering incense to the Holy Mother. The groups of pilgrims will show their gratitude to the Holy Mother through their offerings and ritual dances. The organizers will arrange places for Cham pilgrims to perform their traditional rites. 
Ponagar Temple Festival is an opportunity for people to express their belief and gratitude towards the Holy Mother as well as to raise awareness of public’s responsibilities in preserving and promoting the local traditional cultural values. Ponagar Temple Festival is the main event among the themed activities about Thien Y A Na Holy Mother, helping to introduce more widely the values of Mother Goddess Worship religion to the public. This is also an opportunity to stimulate the local tourism activities.
Giang Đinh - Translated by H.N
Khanh Hoa News