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Coming to the land of the Cultural Heritage

Monday, 2018-02-12 00:04:49
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The Vietnamese people pay tribute to the merits of the Hung Kings on the occasion of the Hung King's death anniversary - Hung King Temple Festival in 2017. 


PTO- Being proud as the birthplace of the Vietnamese people, the center of the Red River civilization - where was the birthplace of the first State of Vietnam - Van Lang State - thousands of years ago - Phu Tho province has owned a rich historical tradition with sediments. This land has also preserved a lot of special cultural heritages, including 3 cultural heritages recorgnized by UNESCO. In particular, Phu Tho Xoan singing and Hung Kings worshiping beliefs are intangible cultural heritages of humanity and Phu Tho is listed in 17 provinces and cities spreading Ca Tru singing - intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection of humanity. Xoan singing is believed to have been developed during the reign of the Hung Kings, also known as Khuc Mon Dinh (performing in front of communal houses). It was used to worship gods and held in the spring to welcome the new year. There are three forms of xoan singing: worship singing for the Hung Kings and village guardian spirits; ritual singing for good crops, health and luck, and festival singing where villagers alternate male and female voices in a form of courtship. At present, all four ancient Xoan guilds (clubs) of An Thai, Phu Duc, Kim Doi and Thet are located in Kim Duc and Phuong Lau communes of Viet Tri city.

After Phu Tho Xoan singing was listed as intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection in 2011 by UNESCO, the restoration and regular maintenance of the operation of four Xoan acient guilds was received the special interest of all levels and branches in the province. Many practical activities to help the community preserve and promote the value of this heritage has been deployed such as restoring Lai Len temple; supporting costumes, performance equipment, maintaining the operation of clubs, organizing classes teaching Xoan singing and exchanges between Xoan clubs; promoting Xoan singing during Hung King Temple Festival, on the central and local media; bringing Xoan singing into schools, etc. These effort has made the community's awareness of Xoan singing gradually improve and the Xoan singing space gradually expand. Especially, Phu Tho succeeded in bringing  Xoan singing out of the list of “intangible cultural heritage should be protected urgently” to become an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.


Xoan singing performance in Hung Lo acient communal house.

Hung Vuong worship is a national folk ritual in Vietnam. According to the legend, Lạc Long Quân (a dragon king) was the king of the sea married to Âu Cơ (a fairy princess). Then she gave birth to a golden sac containing 100 eggs, which hatched into sons soon after. Lạc Long Quân took fifty sons south to the sea and Âu Cơ took fifty sons north to the mountains to protect their both homeland. The eldest son followed his mother to Phong Chau land (now Phu Tho province) to establish Van Lang state and to be honored as Hung King. Van Lang is the first state in the history of Vietnam, ruled by 18 Hung kings. They taught local people to cultivate rice and chose Nghia Linh mountain - the highest mountain in the region - to perform agricultural rituals such as worshiping rice gods, sun gods to pray for the bumper crops. To commemorate the great merit of the Hung Kings, the local people set up memorial shrines on Nghia Linh mountain and chose the10th day of lunar March as the Hung King's death anniversary. From this first center of worship, the Hung Kings worshipping beliefs gradually spreads in both time and space. Despite undergoing ups and downs of the country's history, this worshipping beliefs has been still maintained forever. The Vietnamese community clearly realize that Hung Kings worshipping beliefs should be preserved and handed down to the next generations. This can be seen as the pure Vietnamese faith becoming a symbol of long-term aspiration, independence, self-reliance and the dream of prosperity of the nation. Nowadays, this worshipping has reached the peak of the sublimation to become the national festival of the entire Vietnamese people. Asserting its strong position in contemporary social life, Hung Kings worshiping beliefs in Phu Tho is fully deserved to be honored by UNESCO as the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2012.

Ca Tru singing was listed in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2009. Located in the range of 17 provinces and cities in the North Vietnam under the influential of Ca Tru singing, Phu Tho soon to absorb and perform Ca Tru singing in the festivals along with the Xoan singing, Gheo singing. At present, Ca Tru singing is still maintained and practice in Trinh Nu village, Binh Bo commune in Phu Ninh district and Phuong Lau commune in Viet Tri city as well as a number of singers of Phu Tho's performing arts. To expand the practice of this heritage, in the coming time, the provincial  Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will advise the provincial People's Committee on strengthening the Ca Tru singing clubs and groups in some localities in the province.

Determining culture is a potential power of the spirit, the fulcrum of creativity and the foundation of development in all fields of economics, science and technology and culture. Phu Tho has issued many positive and effective guidelines, policies and measures to preserve and promote the heritage values for the sustainable development. Not only these three intangible cultural heritages of humanity, the treasure of cultural heritages on the ancestral land has become a belief, an attractive destination for both domestic and international tourists.


Kim Thu