Folk game highlights ethnic minority culture

  To Mong people in general and Mong people living in Mu Cang Chai district in particular, Pao throwing has been an indispensable folk game in holidays and traditional festivals, including Gau Tao spring festival. It not only serves as a recreational activity but also a community-connectivity one. The silk ball of Pao therefore plays an important role in Mong people’s life as a symbol of love. Making the silk ball of Pao is not so sophisticated yet it requires makers’ patience and delicacy. To make a beautiful rounded Pao, Mong women must first collect fabrics and linen strings. The piece of cloth is cut into strips and then rolled into a sphere. After that, they tie the linen string around the Pao until it is round and fist-sized. Finally, layers of silk cloth are used to cover the fabric sphere. All the procedures are made only by hands. The folk game of Pao throwing is often held at a vast area. The game is participated by either male–female or female-female couples. During festivals, couples with feeling for each other often join in the game. After the game, if a man is interested in his game partner, he may keep the silk ball with him, making it a symbol for love. Despite where they live, Mong people always regard the folk game of Pao throwing as a distinctive cultural value that needs preserving.-VNA  ... [read more]

The first National Ethnic Minority Congress opened in Hanoi on May 12 in the presence of Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Phu Trong, Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Huynh Dam, other former Party and State leaders and more than 1,700 ethnic minority representatives. In an opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Congress Steering Board, Nguyen Sinh Hung said that this is the first time a national ethnic minority group has been held to affirm the Party and State’s consistent guidelines on ethnicity and great national unity as well as highlighting significant contributions by ethnic minority groups to the Vietnamese revolution’s victory. The congress is an exchange forum for ethnic minority people to reach unanimity and put their strong confidence in the Party leadership on the threshold of the 11th National Party Congress. On addressing the congress, Party leader Nong Duc Manh praised the efforts made by people throughout the country, particularly the ethnic minority population in helping rebuild mountainous and remote areas for the development of the Vietnamese ethnic community and the cause of national construction and defence. Mr Manh asked ministries, sectors, and local administrations to carry out major tasks with a focus on raising public awareness of ethnicity issues, promoting Party and State policies and guidelines, boosting socio-economic development and ensuing national security and defence. The Party leader underlined the need to implement policies on equality and solidarity, develop…... [read more]

For one, the region, which consists of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Nong provinces, is home to many ethnic minorities, including the M’Nong, E De, Gie Trieng, J’rai and K’ho. When thinking of ethnic minorities in the region, one might evoke images of their more famous customs and traditions - their dresses, dances, epics, gong beating performances and festivals. Another typical feature of ethnic minority culture is the nha mo (grave houses), where the souls of the deceased rest according to the group’s ancient customs. After the burial, family members erect a hut on the new grave to provide shelter for the dead person under ground. The hut, covered with iron sheets, leaves or tiles, is usually stocked with the deceased person’s belongings, such as water bottles, hammocks, pots, gui (bamboo baskets) and even statues. Two or three years later, family members remove the maker-shift hut and build a new larger wooden house in a ritual called le bo ma (grave-leaving ceremony). The ceremony is usually organised in the spring and is considered a festive day. Villagers gather at the cemetery grounds, and the family members bring offerings of food. After the offerings are presented to the deceased, villagers sing songs, dance and enjoy the food and drinks taken from the altar, in the belief that the deceased returns to join the feast with them. One of the main rituals in le bo ma is carving wooden statues, which are than placed in front of…... [read more]

(VOVworld)-H're ethnic people have long been living in the southern part of the Truong Son Mountain Range. The H're are united, which can be seen in the way they help each other in production and festive activities. The connectivity among H're families and between an individual and the hamlet is based on kinship or neighborhood. H're people live in villages known as "plây". Their villages are located on hillsides above the valley. Their houses are next to their fields and water source. H're people move only when an epidemic disease breaks out. H're build their stilt houses on high, well-ventilated plots of land. H're villagers live in harmony with each other. They use the same well, the same ditch. There are no fences between houses to demarcate private property. In traditional H're's society, a "plây" is an autonomous community with institutions set up for daily activities. A H're village has 40 to 50 households. Each village is led by a "Krăh plây", an older, experienced, respected person from a prosperous family. Each H're village has a shaman or "pơ dâu" who, together with the "Krăh plây", conducts the village's worship rituals. H're people have many spiritual rituals associated with community activities which are orally passed down from generation to generation. Pham Minh Dat, a researcher of ethnic minority culture in the Central Highlands, told VOV: "H're people believe all things have a soul. Each year they organize many rituals for deaths, ancestors, a new house, or to worship the rice…... [read more]

However, the GSO said that the number of visitors in September saw a decrease of 6 percent compared to the same period last year. Ho Chi Minh City alone attracted 2.2 million foreign arrivals and is expected to increase the figure to 3 million by the end of this year. The hotel room occupation rate was estimated at 70-80 percent on average. On special occasions, all high-ranking hotels were fully booked, particularly in big tourism centres like Hanoi, HCMCity, Nha Trang and Da Nang. The Vietnam National Tourism Administration attributed the positive results in the reviewed period to tourism promotion activities as well as the organisation of cultural events, such as the Lang Son ethnic minority cultural and sports festival, the gala night in Hoi An ancient city and the Lam Kinh festival in Thanh Hoa province. To achieve its set target of receiving 5 million foreign holidaymakers in 2008, Vietnam is simplifying administration procedures for international travel agents and boosting tourism promotion activities. The country will also invest more in upgrading infrastructure and improving professional skills for tourism officers to provide better services to tourists.... [read more]

In the Thai minority language Han Khuong means a floor above the ground. In the middle of the floor, on stage is a heavily decorated Neu tree made from bamboo. Four girls sit at the four corners of the stage, singing and spinning their looms. The fifth sits in the centre and possesses a profound knowledge of folk art, particularly traditional singing skills. Participating men must take a challenge by singing songs in response to those sung by the girls before they can be allowed to enter the stage. The audience sits around, playing music to encourage the men. Lo Ngoc Duyen from the Institute for the Research of Traditional Music said the musical instruments used in Thai people’s love songs are mainly the Nhi (the two-stringed musical instrument) and drums. “One side of the drum is covered by ox hide to create a bass sound while the other is made of cow hide to produce the treble,” Ms Duyen said. “The sounds blend to represent that of men and women singing.” In the Han Khuong game, the girls are both judges and participants, and the men have to go through tough singing competitions. When the girls are pleased with the men’s performance, they will place a ladder for them to come on stage. After that, the singing continues until the men are permitted to sit down. Following are some beautiful words from a Han Khuong love song: “A small fire glittering by the blue river from afar, The river…... [read more]

The seminar was held by the Department of National Culture under the Ministry of Culture and Information. Reports at the seminar found that cultural values have fallen into oblivion and face the risk of vanishing due to the poor living standards and spiritual lives of ethnic people. In recent years, relevant agencies have restored some traditional folk festivals of ethnic minority groups, namely the Cham, Khmer, Thai, Muong and Mong. The languages of some ethnic groups have also been used in radio, television broadcasts and some newspapers. Many cultural exchange activities are still popular among ethnic minority groups such as folklore recitals, folk music, song and dance festivals and the Central Highlands epics contests. Recently, the Ministry of Culture and Information has allocated funds from the national cultural programme to restore eight traditional ethnic minority groups festivals.... [read more]

Twenty three gong troupes from across the country together with two foreign art troupes from Laos and the Republic of Korea joined the event to relive a legendary conversation between ancient people and contemporary people. The festival will run until November 24 with a wide range of interesting activities, including four main gala nights at the Dak Lak ethnic minority cultural museum and a street festival with traditional rituals of ethnic minority people in the central highland region. The festival introduces not only the cultural features of central highland ethnic minority groups but also local tourism potential to foreigners. Lu Ngoc Cu, chairman of the Dak Lak provincial People’s Committee... [read more]

It displays 50 photographs taken by Director of the Tours Trade Centre Gerarol Domise during his two visits to Vietnam, which feature ethnic minority cultures in Sapa and Bac Ha markets. In addition, there is a collection of Ao Dai, the traditional dress of Vietnamese women, designed by Vietnamese-French designer Pascale Valery Tung Lam. Young painters Lai Thi Mai Lien and Phan Thi Thanh Mai also have their lacquer and silk painting works on display, with their tropical themes and using a wide array of Oriental materials. Visitors are impressed by the 2,000 dolls made by disabled children from the Sao Mai Company, a workplace for the disabled. At the centre of the exhibition is a photograph of Vietnam’s first President Ho Chi Minh posing with celebrities of the French Socialist Party at the Tours Congress in 1920. This picture, an integral part of Vietnam’s war for national independence demonstrates the traditional friendship between Tours and the Southeast Asian nation.... [read more]

Various activities will take place, including exhibitions of books, photographs and fine arts relating to ethnic minority groups. Traditional handicraft and cultural products from different areas will be showcased along with the screening of documentary film on ethnic minority culture. There will also be cultural exchanges and traditional ethnic minority sporting activities, seminars and meetings between ethnic minority and Vietnamese artists, craftsmen, intellectuals, heads of villages and scientists. The festival is expected to draw the participation of ethnic minority groups from 29 provinces and cities nationwide. On the occasion, the Prime Minster’s decision to observe April 18 as Vietnam’s Ethnic Minority Culture Day will be announced soon.... [read more]

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