Halong Bay is known for its impressive natural beauty, and although it was recently crowned one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of the world, not many people know about the legend of the bay’s origins.
In Vietnamese, the name “Hạ Long”, literally translated, means “descending dragon”. According to ancient mythology, the Vietnamese people are said to have descended from dragons themselves – with this in mind, the legend of Halong Bay promises to be a fascinating one indeed.
Legend has it that shortly after the formation of the country, Vietnamese people had to fight back against hostile invaders attempting to enter the country through the sea. Refusing to allow his people to be defeated, the revered Jade Emperor called upon the Gods to send the Mother Dragon and her children to help the Vietnamese people in defeating their enemies.
The Mother Dragon and her children did not hesitate, they heeded the Emperor’s call and ferociously came down on to face the attackers. Although the invaders were powerful and on the verge of winning, the dragons destroyed the them in a blaze of fire.
As the enemy was defeated, giant emeralds appeared and scattered along the bay. According to legend these emeralds were actually the teeth of the Mother Dragon and her children. The emeralds were left behind to create an impossible-to-penetrate barrier to discourage any future invasions. Peace returned to the country and after a thousand years, these walls of emeralds transformed into the islands and islets that you can admire in Halong Bay today.
After their triumph in Halong Bay, the Mother Dragon and her children never returned to the heavens from which they were summoned. Instead, they stayed and adopted the form of humans to help the Vietnamese people farm, raise cattle, reclaim land and thrive. To commemorate the intervention of the Mother Dragon and her children, Vietnamese people named the bay: “Hạ Long” and the area where her children landed, “Bái Tử Long”; the latter meaning “Bowing down and showing respect to the dragon’s children”.
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