The opening ceremony saw the presence of Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, former State President Tran Duc Luong, along with thousands of visitors. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc beat the ceremonial drum to open the festival, which will be held throughout spring. The participants also symbolically released doves and offered incense to pray for happiness and national development. The event also featured folk games and artistic programmes. Bai Dinh Pagoda is part of the Trang An Landscape Complex, which was recognised as a world cultural and natural heritage site by UNESCO. The pagoda is a complex of the original and newly built Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain, nearly 200 metres above sea level. The original 1,000 year-old Bai Dinh Pagoda (Bai Dinh Co Tu) is composed of temples worshipping Buddha, the Mountain God, and the Mother Goddess of the Forest. It lies about 800 metres from the Tam The Temple of the new Bai Dinh Pagoda area. The organising board said the pagoda welcomed tens of thousands of visitors in the first few days of the Lunar New Year.