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What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

July 17, 2021 | 07:05

Covering an area of 822,8 km2, Bac Ninh is Vietnam's smallest province. Bac Ninh is also the birthplace of Quan Ho - a traditional folk singing style.

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What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?
Bac Ninh city (Photo: VN Express)

Bac Ninh, the smallest province in Vietnam, is located in the Northern key economic region. Bac Ninh Province is adjacent to the North midland and mountainous region in Bac Giang province. Bac Ninh City is located about 30km from the center of Hanoi to the northeast and shares the border with Hanoi in the west and southwest, Bac Giang Province in the north, east, and Hai Duong Province in the east and southeast, Hung Yen Province in the south. Besides, Bac Ninh is located on two economic corridors of Kunming - Lao Cai - Hanoi - Haiphong - Quang Ninh and Nanning - Lang Son - Hanoi - Haiphong - Quang Ninh.

Bac Ninh Province is famous for Quan Ho folk songs. Previously, Bac Ninh is the center of the Kinh Bac region. Currently, there are 41 notable festivals in Bac Ninh including the major festivals such as Dau Pagoda Festival, Lim Festival, Ba Chua Kho Festival.

What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?
Phat Tich Pagoda in Bac Ninh. (Photo: VOV)

Bac Ninh's Geography & Climate

has moon soon weather, cold winter. The annual average temperature is 24ºC. The highest one is 30ºC in July; the lowest one is 15ºC in January. The annual average rainfall is 1,400mm - 1,600mm. The rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season lasts from December to April next year.

The province has moon soon weather, cold winter. The annual average temperature is 24ºC. The highest one is 30ºC in July; the lowest one is 15ºC in January. The annual average rainfall is 1,400mm - 1,600mm. The rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season lasts from December to April next year, according to Vietnam Tourism.

What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?
Quan ho singers wearing traditional clothes. (Photo: Vietnam Plus)

Quan ho Folk sing - Bac Ninh's and the world heritage

In the provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang in northern Vietnam, many of the villages are twinned, reinforcing their relationship through social customs such as Quan Ho folk songs. The songs are performed as alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony, and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics.

In the past, Quan Ho was mostly performed at the occasions like festivals, ceremonies, or parties, so both audiences and Quan Ho singers only had chances to enjoy this unique art at certain times. Quan Ho today is performed everywhere and every time, not only on special occasions like before. People in other regions, maybe other countries can also listen to Quan Ho via recorded CD or on the Internet anytime and anywhere they like. It could be the good news, yet it could be bad news either.

According to UNESCO, the women traditionally wear distinctive large round hats and scarves; the men’s costumes include turbans, umbrellas, and tunics. The more than 400 song lyrics, sung with 213 different melody variations, express people’s emotional states of longing and sadness upon separation, and the happiness of the meeting of lovers, but custom forbids marrying a singing partner. Quan ho singing is common at rituals, festivals, competitions, and informal gatherings, where guests will perform a variety of verses for their hosts before singing farewell. Younger musicians of both sexes may practice the four singing techniques – restrained, resonant, ringing and staccato – at parties organized around singing. Quan ho songs express the spirit, philosophy, and local identity of the communities in this region, and help forge social bonds within and between villages that share a cherished cultural practice.

What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?
Quang ho singing on in Lim festival (Photo: VNA)

Bac Ninh tourism

Bac Ninh used to be an ancient trade center of Vietnam from the century 2nd to 10th. Here is the homeland of Buddhism. Buddhism penetrates into this land so early; however, it really bloomed brightly in Ly Dynasty. Hence, visiting this site, tourists will be impressed by a system of old pagodas and temples which reflect all the cultural characters and architecture of Buddhism. Some typical names of pagodas and temples can be given, such as Keo Pagoda, Dau Pagoda, But Thap Pagoda, Phat Tich Pagoda, Do Temple, etc. This is the precious tangible cultural value passing from generation to generation. All the value is also the pride of Bac Ninh’s people that everyone has to try their best to preserve.

Besides the tangible cultural values, Bac Ninh also possesses intangible ones. These are festivals, which take place mainly in spring in almost pagodas and temples. Therefore, after the Lunar New Year, Bac Ninh is the favorite destination for tourists from all over the country. Especially, Bac Ninh is famous to foreign tourists for the cradle of the traditional folk song – which is called "Quan Ho". This kind of art is annually performed at Lim Festival celebrated on the 13th of the first lunar month. For foreign tourists, the experience of joining this festival, listening to the “Quan Ho” song will be kept in their minds forever.

Also, Bac Ninh is well known for such traditional handicraft villages as Dong Ky Wood, Dong Ho Paint, Dai Bai Bronze, and Phu Lang Pottery. You, as a traveler, can drop by and join in the daily life of the villages; even you can try making some products on your own and take them as small gifts for your beloved ones.

What is The Smallest Province in Vietnam?
Ba Chua Kho - A famous temple in Bac Ninh. (Photo: To Quoc)

Lim festival - Bac Ninh's most famous cultural event

The 13th of the first lunar month is the main day of the Lim festival. The Lim opens at 8 am with a parade. Thousands of locals in colorful and traditional costumes march together for over 1km.

Also in the morning, local officials and elderly people from all villages in Noi Due gather at Hong Van Mausoleum to join the sacred worshipping ritual for the village’s Gods. Quan ho singing is also a part of this ritual when female and male singers stand in a line facing the mausoleum’s main gate and sing many songs hailing the Gods of the village.

Beside Quan ho, there are many traditional games, entertainments, fairs and other cultural activities at the festival, such as human chess, martial-art performance, swinging, rice cooking competition

Some say that The Lim is derived from the local singing and dancing festivals and considered as homage to the old love story of Truong Chi and My Nuong. The Lim is also dedicated to people living in old villages around the Lim mountainous region and at the two banks of the Tieu Tuong River.

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Valerie Mai