Nghia An Hoi Quan
Teochew Yian Clan Association and temple 潮州义安会馆关帝庙
The Yian clan association 潮州义安会馆 was founded by the Teochews to serve the local Teochew Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The central building is used as the Guandi temple, 关帝庙, dedicated to Guan Gong, the God of War and Literature.
Although the original founding date is unknown, the clan association and temple has existed at least before 1866. According to a stele inside the temple, the temple and clan association was restored on the fifth year of Qing dynasty Emperor Tong Zhi’s reign (同治五年) or 1866 which suggested a much earlier date of establishment.
Their members initiated 3 restorations in 1866, 1902 and 1969. If we use the restoration dates as a guide, a restoration occurred every 40 to 60 years. That means the Yian temple and clan association could have existed as early as 1822 or at least in the first half of 19th century.
Inside the Guandi Temple, Guan Gong’s sculpture is seated at the main altar and dressed in a dragon robe with his two assistants, Guan Ping and Zhou Cang, by his side. At a side shrine is Guan Gong’s horse and its attendant. Other deities worshipped there included Fe De, Wen Chang and Mazu.
Due to their mainly male deities, the Guandi temple is sometimes referred to as a “male temple” in contrast to the “female temple”, referring to the Matsu Temple of Tue Thanh Guild Hall, 穗城会馆天后宫, known for their female deities.
Next to the Guandi temple is the Teochew Clan Association, 潮州义安会馆.
On the 15th night of every Chinese New Year, the clan association and temple organize a large scale opera performance that attracts up to a thousand audiences. Other high traffic days include the Mid Autumn and the birthdays and commemorative dates of respective deities in the temple.
Apart from these festive and religious activities, the clan association and temple also embark on social program and have built hospitals and schools to benefit the Vietnamese society.
On 7 July 1993, the Yian Clan association and temple was designated by the Vietnamese government as a cultural site. This award recognized the organization’s efforts in conserving an ancient institution and at the same time signals its new role in the Vietnamese economy; as a tourist attraction.
Nghia An Hoi Quan
English name: Teochew Yian Clan Association and temple
678 Nguyen Trai P. 11 Q. 5, TP Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam