The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism officially recognised the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Soldier Feast and Commemoration Festival as a national intangible cultural heritage and the communal temple of An Vinh village in central Quang Ngai Province's Ly Son island district as a national relic.
|The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism officially recognised the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Soldier Feast and Commemoration Festival as a national intangible cultural heritage and the communal temple of An Vinh village in central Quang Ngai Province's Ly Son island district as a national relic ( File Photo: VNA)|
This decision will be announced at the 2013 Quang Ngai Sea and Island Cultural Week, to take place in Quang Ngai Province from April 25-29.
Observed for hundreds of years by families in the Ly Son islands, the festival pays tribute to local men who enlisted in the Hoang Sa Flotilla. This group was organised to patrol the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos in order to mine resources and defend the nation's sovereignty over the area.
The festival includes a requiem for the dead, a procession of four supernatural creatures, the release of lanterns, boat races and sailing.
Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Dang Vu said the dual recognitions were a significant event for the province.
This year's festival would be the biggest ever, he said, and the Sea and Island Cultural Week next month was expected to draw 2,000 visitors.
In previous centuries, An Vinh communal house served as a place to select soldiers to protect Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes.
An international seminar on Viet Nam's sovereignty over the archipelagoes will take place on April 27-29 on Ly Son Island with the participation of Vietnamese and international scholars, lawyers and historians.
Participants will seek to prove, using historical and legal evidence, that Viet Nam has peacefully held continuous sovereignty over the two archipelagoes in accordance with international law.
|Hoang Sa (Paracel) Soldier Feast and Commemoration Festival becomes a national intangible cultural heritage under a decision from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism yesterday (Photo: VNA/VNS)|
Ly Son Island, 30km off the coast of the central province of Quang Ngai, is a tranquil destination with 3,000 inhabitants, most of whom make their living from farming garlic and spring onion and fishing.
It was formed by five mountains, of which four are dormant volcanoes.
Centuries-old houses have still been preserved, as has Am Linh Pagoda, built to worship the souls of sailors who died during long voyages to Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in the Nguyen dynasty (around the 17th century).
A local museum displays over 200 ancient documents and 100 exhibits that prove that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands belong to Viet Nam.