Tuyen Quang vies for buffalo fighting permit
Several localities have opposed to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's decision to only give permission to the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival.
Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival in Hai Phong Province will continue
At a recent conference held by the ministry to review the shortcomings of festivals in the previous year and to make plans for cultural festivals and activities held this year, deputy minister, Trinh Thi Thuy, confirmed that they would only give permission for the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival which has been recognised as an example of national intangible cultural heritage.
"All other buffalo fighting festivals including those held in Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Nghe An and Quang Nam provinces will be banned because they involved violence that may have a bad influence on the community, especially children," Thuy told the conference.
The ministry's announcement was faced with opposition from representatives of several localities which host annual buffalo fighting festival.
Director of Tuyen Quang Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyen Vu Phan, claimed that the traditional buffalo fighting festival in Chiem Hoa District has been licensed for a long time. He also expressed opposition when the same festival is honoured in one place but banned in another.
“The buffalo fighting festival shares the same elements as those in Tuyen Quang and Do Son," Phan said. "Why are they recognised as national intangible heritage in Do Son but banned in Tuyen Quang? Many people from Do Son are coming to Tuyen Quang to find good buffaloes for the competition. Why do they say that the Tuyen Quang Buffalo Fighting Festival is more violent?"
Phan has called for the ministry to give clearer instructions and explanations for the ban. He said that hundreds of buffalo were ready for the annual festival which will be held after Tet holiday.
"We don’t agree if the ministry claims that our festival is more violent," he stressed.
Answering opposition from several localities, the minister insisted that only the traditional Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival would be continued with more tightened regulations, while all other non-traditional festivals should be stopped to reduce violence.
Deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Trinh Thi Thuy, confirms at a conference held on February 2 that they would only give permission for the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival
"More localities are organising such festivals in recent years due to the huge profits they bring in," Thuy explained. "Schools, office places, stadiums have been turned into slaughtering places. Illegal gambling is also taking place at these festivals. There's no good reason to expand them."
There have been positive results from the ministry's call to end violence at traditional festivals nation-wide. Director of Yen Bai Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Le Thi Thanh Binh told the conference that they have stopped seven traditional buffalo fighting festivals in the area in 2017 following a call from the ministry and community.
"There will also no such festival in Yen Bai this year," Binh said.
Besides Yen Bai, Phu Tho Province has also stopped their traditional brutal buffalo head beating in Huong Nha Commune.
90 villages of the Co Tu ethnic minority group in the central province of Quang Nam have also ended their long-traditional Buffalo Stabbing Festival since last year.