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Sep 21 2011

Archive for the ‘Vietnamese culture’ Category Saint Giong Festival – On the way to become an Intangible Heritage of Humanity

archive for the %e2%80%98vietnamese culture%e2%80%99 category saint giong festival %e2%80%93 on the way to become an intangible heritage of humanity

Following to the two former Intangible Heritages of Humanity, Nha nhac (the Royal Refined Music) and The Cultural Space of Gong, Giong Festival now “meets enough standards to be recognized as a new intangible cultural heritage”, affirmed by Katherin Muller-Marin, head of UNESCO’s office in Hanoi. At the present, Giong Festival passed the UNESCO’s first round.

Saint Giong Festival in Phu Dong Village, Gia Lam, Hanoi

Saint Giong Festival is a unique traditional event in Vietnam, held annually from the 6th-12th of the fourth lunar month in many places in Vietnam. However, the 9th of the fourth lunar month is the major day for the biggest Saint Giong festival at Phu Dong village in Gia Lam district of Hanoi where this national hero, called Emperor Phu Dong was born. Legend has it that, at the age of three, he smashed a powerful army of invaders and protected peace for the country (defeated the An invaders). After the victory, he rode his iron horse up to the sky. In order to show their gratitude to the hero of Giong Village who sacrificed his life to fight invaders, the people proclaimed him Saint Giong.

Saint Giong

Saint Giong Festival has the attraction in perfecting mankind’s personality, folks acknowledge about this festival by folk poetry:

“Ai ơi mùng chín tháng tư
Không đi Hội gióng cũng hư mất người”

(Known as: “If anyone does not join Giong Festival on the 9th April, he will not become a good person”)

The festival is a chance for attendants to watch the performance of traditional rituals and artistic activities which have been handed down from generations to generations./.

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Jan 30 2011

Hat Xoan – heritage in need of urgent protection

hat xoan %e2%80%93 heritage in need of urgent protection

In four months’ time, the dossier for Hat Xoan (Xoan singing) will be submitted to UNESCO for its recognition as an intangible World Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection.

VnnNews – In four months’ time, the dossier for Hat Xoan (Xoan singing) will be submitted to UNESCO for its recognition as an intangible World Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection. Now that it appears to be a growing concern among researchers about preserving and developing this special art form.

A special art form

A recent survey by the Phu Tho provincial Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism shows that although Hat Xoan still exists in 17 communes in Phu Tho province, the old Xoan songs have been heard only in four places, An Thai village in Phuong Luu commune and Thet, Phu Duc and Kim Dai villages in Kim Duc commune.

At present the number of famous Xoan singers is decreasing and most of them are very old. In addition, many young people, especially those who have left their native villages, are unfamiliar with the songs. So, it is no easy task to teach the young generation the old folk songs.

Researcher Dang Hoanh Loan, former Vice Director of the Institute for Vietnamese Music, says Hat Xoan is also known as Hat Cua Dinh as it used to be performed in front of the village Communal House. It includes music, songs and dances and is performed in the village spring festival in Phu Tho.

Hat Xoan is considered professional and well-organised Vietnamese folk music. Singers in Xoan groups are usually members of an extended family.

Hat Xoan is organised to entertain villagers and honour the gods and the Hung Kings and also to pray for good luck and bumper crops.

The significance of Hat Xoan finds expressions in the way villagers welcome the Xoan singers with great fanfare young men wearing white clothes and red turbans and carrying small drums. They will start beating the drums when the singers cross the river and later hand the instruments over to them when they arrived in the village. And the troupe will continue singing love songs until they reach the door of the Communal House where they will perform to honour the gods.

Ways to preserve Hat Xoan

UNESCO has recommended a public preservation model to help raise public awareness of the need to maintain and develop this valuable cultural heritage. As Hat Xoan is part of Vietnam’s traditional village festivals, it should be given due credit.

Professor To Ngoc Thanh – Chairman of the Vietnam Folk Letters and Arts Association, says related offices should invest in costumes, musical instruments the recovery of original Xoan songs.

In addition, Vietnam should encourage secondary schools to include Hat Xoan in their curriculum and confer the official title of outstanding artisan, he added.

Dang Hoanh Loan says in order for Hat Xoan to be recognised by UNESCO as part the World Cultural Heritage, scientists should study the Hat Xoan in all of the 18 villages in Phu Tho province to understand the values created and passed passed down from generations to generations and to help preserve and develop this special art form.

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