Diem village festival honouring creator of love duet singing kicks off

Diem village festival which honours the creator of quan ho (love duet singing) opened in the northern province of Bac Ninh on March 22nd (the sixth day of the second lunar month).

Diem village festival which honours the creator of quan ho (love duet singing) opened in the northern province of Bac Ninh on March 22nd (the sixth day of the second lunar month).

Diem village festival honouring creator of love duet singing kicks off

Diem village festival opened in Bac Ninh province on March 22nd (the sixth day of the second lunar month). (Source: VNA)

The festival, named national intangible cultural heritage in 2016, is one of the largest festivals in the province.

It honours Vua Ba, the creator of renowned Quan Ho (folk love duets) in the province. Locals consider the festival as an occasion to gather after a year of hard work, to sing and pray for prosperity and bumper harvests.

Legend has it that Vua Ba was the daughter of Hung King the fifth. When she reached the marriage age, her father opened a contest, where men competed against each other to take possession of a ball and the winner would marry the princess. However, Vua Ba refused the marriage arrangement. Instead, she asked the King to allow her to travel the kingdom.

When the princess and her servants left the citadel, a strong wind rose. It blew the entourage to Viem Trang Hamlet, which later became Viem Xa Village (unofficially known as Diem Village). Back then, the place was a wilderness area occupied by reeds. Vua Ba came helping locals build their village and create a means of livelihood. She taught them cultivation and Quan Ho singing. After the princess passed away, villagers built a temple and held an annual festival to remind them of her significant contributions.

A house dedicated to Diem village’s quan ho was inaugurated in the province on the occasion, aiming to preserve traditional house and create a new space for the art of quan ho in the locality.

The art of love duet singing was inscribed in UNESCO’s representative list of intangible cultural heritage in September 2009.

It is an art form that combines various elements, including music, lyrics and costumes, and features the distinctive culture of people in the region formerly called Kinh Bac.

The singing represents different kinds of relationships -- the relationship between male and female singers as romantic lovers, the relationship between two friendly villages and the relationship between performers and the audience. Each element helps define quan ho, give it life and meaning, and the resulting harmony is so much more than just a beautiful song.

Diem village festival honouring creator of love duet singing kicks off

The Diem village festival features a re-enactment of the village’s legend. (Source: VNA)

The Diem village festival featured a re-enactment of the village’s legend and a palanquin procession, as well as a number of folk games, attracting hundreds of participants. Quan Ho singing is also performed in different locations across Viem Xa as a highlight of the day.

Head of the organising board Nguyen Van Ty said during the festival, security forces have worked to ensure traffic order and food safety, while asking restaurant owners not to overcharging visitors.

Currently Bac Ninh has a total of eight sets of national treasures. It is also home to several significant cultural heritage which includes two intangible cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO – quan ho (love duets) and ca tru (ceremonial singing).

With hundreds of festivals held annually, Bac Ninh is considered to have the most festivals in Vietnam. Many have become national intangible cultural heritage, such as Lim Festival, Diem Village Festival, Dong Ky Village Festival. Many crafts including Dong Ho folk woodcut paintings, Phu Khe wooden carving and Phu Lang pottery were also recognised as national heritage./.

VNF

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