Festival passes UNESCO test

HA NOI — The dossier for nominations of the Saint Giong Festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to UNESCO meets the technical standards necessary to enter the next round of evaluations, the Viet Nam Culture and Art Sub-Institute (VICAS) announced on Tuesday. Saint Giong Festival is a traditional event held annually from the 6th to the 12th day of the fourth lunar month in many provinces across Viet Nam. However, the 9th day of the fourth lunar month (which falls on May 22 this year) is the major day for the largest Saint Giong Festival, to be held at Phu Dong Village in Gia Lam District of Ha Noi. The week-long festivities recreate the ancient atmosphere, recount Saint Giong’s legendary battle with Giong’s troops squaring off against the foreign aggressors, symbolised by 28 generals who are played by 10-13-year-old girls. Traditional cultural activities and performances, like water puppet shows and folk music, are also performed. VICAS director Ben said, “The festival follows the format written in an ancient book called Hoi Le (Festival Regulations), which was passed down through the generations.” The presently self-sustained event is looking for nationwide support to raise public awareness and appreciation. If successful, this will be the first Vietnamese festival to be recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. — VNS

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