The tutelary god worshiped at Phu Tao communal house is general Hong Cong who helped king Ly Nam De fight the enemy in the 6th century and was granted the Supreme Lucky God title.
Present-day Phu Tao communal house
Phu Tao communal house is located in a dense residential area in Thach Khoi ward, Hai Duong city.
According to feng shui, the communal house was built on a large scale in a favorable position in a complex of communal houses, pagodas, shrines and temples of literature.
In 2015, Phu Tao communal house was classified by the provincial People's Committee.
According to the stele Than Su Tich Bi (Stele of a God's Legend) engraved and erected in Dinh Mao year, the 20th Tu Duc year (1867), in the 6th century, a Nguyen man whose given name was Nghia in Tay area, Thach Khoi estate, Gia Phuc district, Ha Hong province, married a Tran woman whose given name was Hoan in the same estate's Nam area.
The couple gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl named Hong Cong and Phuong Nuong, respectively.
Three years later, Nghia died of sickness, then his wife and children raised each other by themselves.
The more mature Hoan's children were, the more features distinct from ordinary people they got. Phuong Nuong was a beauty with a graceful look and beautiful eyes while Hong Cong was both a scholar and a warrior with stratagems.
One year, Chiem Thanh enemy invaded the country. The king personally led the army to fight the enemy.
When arriving at the border of Gia Phuc district, hearing that the children of a family in Tay area of the estate were famous for their talent, the king ordered his soldiers to seek information. All locals came for greetings, including Hoan and her children. Hong Cong and Phuong Nuong asked the king's permission to fight the enemy with all their strength.
At that time, 14 people in Nam area (present-day Phu Tao residential area) followed Hong Cong as his henchmen. The king appointed Hong Cong as Trung Quan Xuat Tuong (Central General) and Phuong Nuong as Truoc Quan Xuat Tuong (Vanguard General) to attack the enemy's post. The enemy fled in fear with countless deaths and was suppressed.
Winning the battle, the king was extremely excited, summoned Hong Cong and Phuong Nuong to the court, and held a congratulatory banquet. Phuong Nuong did not go but requested to return to her small house by a river wharf in her native area.
The king appointed Hong Cong as Noi Thi Hau Tri Quan Su. One year later, the king ordered Hong Cong to recruit people and form villages in districts. When Hong Cong went to the South, Southern people admired him; when he returned to the North, the region was peaceful and people lived and worked in contentment.
After that, Hong Cong asked the king's permission to visit his parents. As soon as Hong Cong's coach arrived at Lang shrine (now in Phu Tao residential area), the sky suddenly got dark, the river water rapidly surged, giao long (serpent-like creatures), soft-shell turtles, crabs, and fish emerged on the water surface. Hong Cong rode a turtle, then laid down and died (on September 11).
Hearing the news, the king was extremely mournful, ordered courtiers to come to perform the burial ceremony, granted public fields and 500 quan (an ancient monetary unit of Vietnam) to Nam area, exempted it from war supplies and taxes in 18 years, conferred the Thuong Dang Phuc Than (Supreme Lucky God) title on him, and allowed Nam area in Thach Khoi commune to worship him on his birth and death anniversaries instead of being on fatigue duty.
Thanks to his merits to the country and people, tutelary god Hong Cong was granted many royal honor-conferring edicts in various feudal dynasties.
To commemorate and pay tribute to general Hong Cong, Phu Tao villagers built the communal house to worship him as a tutelary god.
On every 9th and 10th days of the 2nd lunar month, local authorities and people organize a traditional festival at Phu Tao communal house in commemoration of general Hong Cong's merits.
DANG THU THOM