Buffalo fighting festival may lose heritage status

The Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival in the northern city of Hai Phong will lose national intangible heritage status if its organising process does not fulfill its safety commitments, according to a report submitted by the Agency of Grassroots Culture to Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien.

The D​o S​on Buffalo Fighting Festival was recognised as national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2013 ​(Photo: VNA)

The D​o S​on Buffalo Fighting Festival was recognised as national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2013 ​(Photo: VNA)

The report was compiled after a man was gored to death by his buffalo during a fight on July 1. Authorities halted the festival after the incident.

The agency has also proposed a meeting between the minister and the Hai Phong city People Committee to discuss the festival’s future.

The agency will review the organising process of the festival, including security and safety measures in its dossier of national intangible heritage.

If the festival is found to have fallen short of its commitments, the agency will consult the minister about taking the festival off the list of Vietnam’s national intangible heritages.

The report also suggests that inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism tighten examinations of managing and organising festivals, particularly those lacking evidence to be confirmed as traditional festivals, and those with brutal elements, in addition to strictly fining violations of the guidance.

The agency also urged the local People’s Committee and Department of Culture and Sports to hold a workshop on the festival. The workshop should involve relevant organisations, culturists and historians.

If the buffalo fighting festival continues to be held, its organising procedures must be conducted on a foundation of preserving and promoting the festival’s original cultural values.

On July 1, soon after the festival opened in the city’s Do Son Stadium, buffalo number 18, while fighting a fellow creature, turned on its owner, gored him in the thigh, chest and neck, and then threw him into the air.

The victim Dinh Xuan Huong, 47, a Do Son district native, was rushed to hospital and succumbed to his injuries later.

This is the first time such an incident has happened at the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, which was recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2013 and listed among major cultural festivals by the ministry.

The festival is held annually to wish local fishermen a prosperous fishing season.

According to Luu Toan Thang, a local in Hai Phong city, the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival was first held in the 17th century. After being halted for a period of time, it was revived and has been conducted annually since 1990.

Vietnamplus

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