According to Chairman of the Dong Van district People’s Committee Hoang Van Thinh, the festival is organised to preserve and promote traditional values of the Mong people on the Dong Van Karst Plateau, while enhancing exchange and solidarity among ethnic minority groups in the locality.
Festival goers will have chance to enjoy stellar khen performances staged by local artisans and indulge themselves in a cultural space of ethnic communities in the mountainous areas through a khen competition, the making of khen, displays of local staples, sport activities and folk games.
Khen has played an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of the Mong people. It gained the national intangible heritage status from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2015.
The khen is a wind instrument consisting of several small bamboo tubes, arranged closely together with one end connected to a wooden sound box. The khen may have six, 12 or 14 tubes. While popular with a number of ethnic groups in Vietnam, including the Thai and the Muong, it is most associated with the Mong group.
The khen was once closely related to the daily lives of the Mong. Tour guides in the northwestern region used to say, "When we enter the house of a Mong person, only when we see the khen can we know that we are in the house of a powerful and talented man."
Legend has it that, long ago, an old couple gave birth to six children. When they passed away, the children cried their eyes out and blew through small bamboo tubes to tell of their sorrows for the death of their parents and the loss of their love. Thereafter, the Mong composed touching melodies to show their sentiments toward their ancestors.