Hung Kings Temple Festival seeks UNESCO recognition

Vietnam authorities have submitted documents on Xoan singing and the worship rituals of the Hung Kings to UNESCO for recognition as an intangible world cultural heritage.

A performance by artists of Phu Duc Xoan singing ward. (Photo:Sggp)

The worship rituals of the Hung Kings, the legendary founders of the country, have existed for thousands of years. The rituals are performed in a unique traditional ceremony in the Hung Kings Temple Festival in Phu Tho Province. The annual festival, which falls on the 10th day of the third lunar month, was recognized as a national event in 2007.

The Hung Kings have become a cultural and spiritual symbol as well as a moral support for the people of Vietnam.

Professor Ngo Duc Thinh, director of Center for Research and Conservation of Culture and Belief said that the Hung Kings Temple Festival, which is organized annually, is solemn and sacred and has a profound significance and value not found in any other country in the world.

Xoan singing is traditional folk singing originating from the northern province of Phu Tho. The province has recently formed four Xoan singing wards such as An Thai, Thet, Phu Duc and Kim Dai in Viet Tri City, together with three Xoan singing troupes in Lam Thao and Phu Ninh Districts.

At present, the country has a modest 69 singers of the folk songs, most of them more than 60 years old.

Xoan singing was once performed in 30 communal houses but now only 13 remain.

Each xoan singing group consists of 10-15 people performing the folk songs in front of communal houses during the village festival during the spring.

Xoan singing is in danger of being lost in oblivion forever and is in desperate need of safeguarding.

A wide range of folk cultural activities and game sports are being held to mark the death anniversary of the Hung Kings at the Hung Kings Temple Festival in Phu Tho Province from April 5 to 12 (March 5-10 of lunar calendar).

Party Politburo members Truong Tan Sang, To Huy Rua and Ngo Van Du offered incense and flowers at the Hung Kings Temple Complex in the northern province of Phu Tho on April 10 (the 8th day of the third lunar month).

Nguyen Doan Khanh, Secretary of the Phu Tho Provincial Party Committee, reported the Politburo members on the province’s preparations for the Hung King Temple Festival 2011 and compiling documents of Xoan singing and Hung Kings worship rituals to submit to the UNESCO for recognition as an intangible world cultural heritage.

By Mai An – Compiled by Kim Khanh

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