Ethnic minority people introduce Vietnam’s unique culture

Vietnam is home to 54ethnic groups, each of which has its own unique cultural identity. At theVietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, ethnic minority peoplejoin State agencies and experts in preserving and introducing theircommunities’ cultural values to visitors.

A “then” singing performance by Tay people at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism – Photo: VNA

The village, located in the Dong Mo tourism area in Hanoi’sSon Tay town, is described as a “common home” of the 54 ethnic groups acrossthe nation. It has a total area of 1,544ha with seven functional zones. Amongthem, the zone for ethnic minority villages is considered the heart of theculture-tourism village.

So far, people from 13 ethnic groups have come from everycorner of the country to reside here, including Tay, Dao, Muong, Thai, Kho Mu,Ta Oi, Co Tu and Khmer.

Thanks to them, the culture of these groups has beendemonstrated through not only their traditional houses or places of worship,but also the daily activities and festivals held by ethnic minorities in thevillage.

At a traditional house of Tay people, Nguyen Thi Xuyen intraditional costume welcomed visitors with broad smiles. She briefed us abouthow the house was built and how their clothes made. We later enjoyed theminority’s “then” melodies, a national intangible cultural heritage that isseeking UNESO’s recognition, performed by herself and her young Tay fellowpeople.

She told us that she comes from the northern mountainousprovince of Thai Nguyen and has lived at the village for four years. Currently,the house is home to eight Tay people from different localities, who areresponsible for preserving and popularising their cultural values.

To be eligible to be invited here, they must have insight andknowledge about their culture and be able to illustrate the daily life of Taypeople. 

Xuyen said she felt homesick during the first days of livingthere because she was far from her family and neighbours, but now she was usedto it and can return to her hometown in Thai Nguyen every two or threemonths.   

“I sometimes feel like a soldier. A soldier protects thecountry, while I come here to maintain my community’s culture. We represent allTay people to introduce the quintessence of our culture to visitors”,Xuyen said.

She added that she was delighted to welcome visitors, butalso felt sad after saying farewell to them.

Meanwhile, the tranquil atmosphere of the Xe-dang ethnicityvillage was brightened up by the sound of Klong put and T’rung, traditionalmusical instruments made of bamboo.

Artisan Y Sinh and several women from Dak To district, theCentral Highlands province of Kon Tum, left their home for the culture-tourismvillage to showcase their minority’s cultural values.

“Although I was not trained to become an artist, I came hereto save our ethnic group’s culture. If no one does something, the traditionalmusic will disappear forever,” Sinh said.

With burning desire and skill, Sinh has successful revivedthe original T’rung and Klong put, which had almost slipped into oblivion. Shehas also made new musical instruments to diversify the bamboo orchestra. 

In the beginning, she was only meant to stay in the villagefor a few days to join events and programmes, then the village management boardinvited her to stay to introduce her ethnic group’s culture. 

“I feel grateful to the Party and State for building acultural space for Xe-dang people in this village, the common house of all 54ethnic groups. It will be very joyous if people from all the groups come hereas we will have a chance to exchange with other groups. Aside from that joy, wecan also together introduce our communities’ culture to tourists,” she said.

At another area of the village, young men and women of the TaOi ethnic minority group from A Luoi district in the central province of ThuaThien – Hue were performing a traditional dance to celebrate the new ricefestival. Nearby, a woman was weaving to show visitors her ethnic group’straditional craft which has been recognised as national intangible culturalheritage.

Ho Thi Tu, a woman from the ethnic group, said these areregular activities at the village, adding that implementing the Party’sguidelines on cultural preservation, people have come to the village tointroduce their cuisine, agricultural products and “Zeng” weaving.

“People want to preserve and promote the unique culture ofthe Ta Oi ethnic group,” she said.

Dong Feng, a visitor from China, called the gathering ofethnic groups in one place a “good idea” because ethnic minority groups oftenlive far away from the largest ethnic group of Kinh people.

“If ethnic people want to learn about different cultures,they have to go very far. This would be very difficult. Therefore, when peopleare brought together at the village, they can easily study the life, customsand culture of other ethnic groups,” he said.

Nguyen Van Thai, a tourist from Hanoi, said that he came hereto learn about the ethnic minority cultures that he had only read about innewspapers before.

“Visiting the village today, I find that the Vietnameseethnic cultures are diverse and beautiful. I could enjoy dishes of Tay ethnicgroups and I really liked it. I will recommend my friends to the village”.

The Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourismaims to preserve and promote ethnic cultural values as well as enhance mutualunderstanding and solidarity among ethnic groups.

With the policy of “letting ethnic groups introducethemselves”, the management board of the village has worked with localities towelcome thousands of people from ethnic groups to join activities at thevillage.

The activities truthfully reflect the life and festivals ofethnic groups, which creates a special attraction to visitors.

The presence of ethnic minority people at the village hasbrought vitality and become the soul of the ethnic villages.

In 2018, more than 560 ethnic minority people from 39localities along with 14 groups of ethnic communities from the northwestern,Central Highlands and southwestern regions recreated 22 traditional festivalsat the village. The participation of nearly 500 theatre artists contributed tocreating a picture of cultural diversity at the “common cultural house”.

Source: VNA

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