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StGiong

Gióng on his iron-clad horse wielding bamboo whipping rods.

Saint Gióng (Vietnamese: Thánh Gióng) is a legendary hero of ancient Vietnam. He was supposedly born through immaculate conception in the village of Phù Đổng (also known as Gióng village) during the reign of the sixth Hùng King of the Hồng Bàng Dynasty of Văn Lang. He became a hero for fending off the lands from invaders from the north. A temple in honor of Saint Gióng still exists at Phù Đổng. The Saint Gióng Festival is celebrated on the 9th day of the 4th lunar month to honor his heroism.

According to legend, Gióng's parents were old and childless. One day the wife found a large footprint, and decided to press her feet in it to compare the size, when suddenly she felt a strange sensation. Shortly thereafter, she found she was pregnant. Feeling ashamed, she abandoned her village and lived in the forest, and 12 months later, gave birth to Gióng. Eventually she returned to the village with her son, but up until age 3, Gióng remained mostly motionless, and did not make a sound, which saddened his mother. When a royal messenger passed through the village, Gióng suddenly stood up and asked his mother to invite the messenger to speak with him. Gióng asked the messenger to have armor and a horse ready for him so that he could defeat the invaders. From that day, Gióng's appetite grew voraciously, and his body's growth accelerated to the point that the entire village had to help feed and make new clothes for him. After going through several horses, one was found that was strong enough to be clad in iron, and Gióng, brandishing an iron whipping rod, charged into the enemy army cutting them down like straw. When his iron rod broke, he tore bamboo from the ground to use it as his weapon. He eventually routed the invaders, rode up to Sóc Mountain and then ascended up to Heaven. The king had a temple built in Gióng's honor, and had him canonized as a saint.

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