Lieu Hanh

Lieu Hanh


Thanh Mau (Holy Mother)



One of the Jade Emperor’s beautiful Fairy princess daughters broke a precious jade bowl in Heaven and as punishment was temporarily exiled to Earth. She assumed the identity of a Vietnamese girl named Lieu Hanh in Tien Huong Village, Nam Dinh Province. Depending on the version of the myth, she may or may not have been born a human princess. She married and was happy but died three years later (but really returned to Heaven as a Jade Fairy Princess).

The story could end there except that the princess’ stay on Earth among people had moved her profoundly. She had developed tremendous affection for people and perceived that they needed her help. Lieu Hanh consciously chose to return to Earth to help the needy and provide protection from danger and evil. Over the centuries she has appeared in many forms.

Lieu Hanh is famous for her mastery of poetry and painting. She plays the flute. Lieu Hanh is mistress of creative and cultural arts and able to transmit talent and inspiration to others. She is identified with traditional chao van music, now used to invoke her protection and help. Lieu Hanh communicates via spirit mediums.

Number: 3

Feast: Festival from the first to the tenth day of the third lunar month; the third day of thefestival commemorates the anniversary of Lieu Hanh’s death.

Sacred site:

Lieu Hanh has three primary Vietnamese shrines:

• Tay Ho Temple near the West Lake in Hanoi

• Van Cat-Tien Huong Pagoda in Dam Dinh Province, where Lieu Hanh was born

• Song Temple in Thanh Hoa Province, site of another incarnation

Lieu Hanh is venerated alongside the Jade Emperor and Kwan Yin (Vietnamese: Quan Am). She may be worshipped in Taoist or Buddhist context.


Jade Emperor; Kwan Yin


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.