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Feb 27, 2024 / 22:46

Five elements of Hanoi on new National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Heritage and ancient customs passed down from generation to generation are the precious legacies of the ancestors and must be well preserved.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has just added 26 traditional festivals, practices, representations and knowledge to the list of national intangible cultural heritage.

Among them, Hanoi took the largest number with five elements, including the Ao dai tailoring craft of Trach Xa Village, Hoa Xa Commune, Ung Hoa District; the traditional festival of Keo Village, Gia Lam District; the Tuong Phieu Temple Festival of Phuc Tho District; the traditional festival, social practice and folk belief of dragons of Ba Duong Noi Village, Dan Phuong Rural District, Hanoi; and the Thay Pagoda Traditional Festival of Quoc Oai District.

The village of Trach Xa in Ung Hoa District, about 60 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, has been known for hundreds of years for its specialization in traditional Vietnamese women's Ao Dai making.

It is said that the mother of this craft is Nguyen Thi Sen, who was very young when her sewing skills were put at the service of the royal family during the Dinh Dynasty from 968 to 980.

Later, she returned to her native village of Trach Xa and taught the villagers the art of embroidery and the making of elaborate garments, such as dresses or clothes for the kings and queens for various rites.

Practicing ao dai tailoring at the Trach Xa Festival Village. Photo: Ao dai Truong Thuy

Since the early days, the villagers have been plying their trade away from home. They used to take their tools of tape measure, needle, thread and scissors with them across the country and even abroad.

But the Trach Xa Ao dai tailors never forget their home village. In any city, their shop brand always bears the word Trach, such as Phuc Trach, Vinh Trach, and My Trach in Hanoi's Old Quarter.

Keo Village Festival

Another heritage element, the Keo Village Festival, is usually held on the sixth day of the fourth month of the Lunar New Year. The festival commemorates the tutelary god of Keo Village, General Dao Phuc, and Lady Phap Van, also known as Mrs. Keo.

Today, the Keo Community House still preserves many ordinances and couplets that commemorate General Dao Phuc's merits in suppressing the invaders and defending the country. Among them is the consecration document issued by King Khai Dinh (1885-1925) on July 25, 1924.

Tuong Phieu Communal House

 Tuong Phieu Village Festival. Photo: Daibieunhandan.vn

Located in Phuc Tho District, about 30 kilometers from central Hanoi, Tuong Phieu Communal House is one of the oldest temples in northern Vietnam.

Built in 1430, the house honors the son-in-law of King Dinh Tien Hoang and the tutelary god of Tuong Phieu village, Saint Tan Vien, who is one of the four immortals in Vietnamese folk beliefs. Valuable items preserved in the Tuong Phieu communal house include three palanquins, three thrones from the 18th century, an altar, and royal documents of title conferral.

There are four annual festivals held at the Tuong Phieu Communal House. The largest is held from the 14th to the 16th day of the first lunar month to commemorate the birthday of Saint Tan Vien.

Kite flying festival 

A visitor of the Ba Duong Noi Kite Flying Festival tries to fly a kite. Photo: Mai Anh

The annual kite flying festival of Ba Duong Noi village in the outskirts of Hanoi's Dan Phuong district is held on the fifteenth day of the third lunar month and is the largest of its kind in northern Vietnam. The kites are made in the shape of crescent moons or boats and are attached to wooden flutes that produce beautiful melodies when the wind blows through the flutes.

According to ancient beliefs, the kite is a symbol of yin and yang, connecting heaven and earth. The sound of the flutes drives away miasma and epidemics. They also symbolize good luck, as Duong Noi villagers say that the higher their kites fly, the better the harvest they will reap.

 The kite competition at the annual kite festival of Ba Duong Noi village held on the fifteenth day of the third lunar month. Photo: Mai Anh

Thay Pagoda Festival

Located on the breathtaking Mt. Sai in Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, about 20 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, Thay Pagoda is considered one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. Every year, from the fifth to the seventh day of the third lunar month (from April 24 to 26), the lively Thay Pagoda Festival is held in honor of Tu Dao Hanh, a revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk who lived from 1010 to 1225.

The Thay Pagoda Festival consists of two parts: the ceremonies and the folk performances, featuring a wide range of ancient worship rituals passed down from generation to generation. The Moc Duc, or "statue bath," with fragrant water boiled from five kinds of leaves, is considered the most important ritual performed by the respected elders of the area. Meanwhile, the festival's palanquin procession attracts a large number of residents from the four hamlets of Da Phuc, Thuy Khue, Sai Khe and Khanh Tan in Sai Son commune.
Other new elements of national intangible heritage include the rice paper craft of Tuy Loan village, Hoa Phong commune, Hoa Vang district of the central coastal city of Danan; the Xtieng ethnic brocade weaving craft in the southern province of Binh Phuoc; the palm sugar craft of the Khmer ethnic minority in Tri Ton district and Tinh Bien town, An Giang province, and others.

 The procession at the Thay Pagoda Festival in Hanoi. Photo: Duy Khanh/ The Hanoi Times