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Arousing the vitality of heritage in Can Tho
Date: 29/03/2018

The People’s Committee of Can Tho city issued the Decision approving the project on Preserving and Promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage of Can Tho city to 2020. The two main points of the project are preserving and promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage to have practical effect which is suitable with the socio- economic development requirement of the city and have a connection with the Mekong Delta and the whole country. This is also a foundation for preserving and promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage of Can Tho city to 2020.
“Hat boi” (classical theatre and folk singing), an intangible cultural heritage of Can Tho city, needing to be kept and promoted. In the photo, Phuong Anh folk music band singing at Vinh Trinh Temple (Vinh Thanh town). Photo: Dang Huynh

According to statistics, Can Tho currently has 104 types of intangible cultural heritage, in which Cai Rang Floating Market and Ky Yen Thuong Dien Festival in Binh Thuy Temple have been included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of the nation. The others have also confirmed the roles and the characters of Can Tho, such as: Can Tho “Ho”, Tong Phong ceremony of Can Tho people, “Mam” hot pot, and so on. These have played an important role in the spiritual life of the local people and become a valuable resource to develop tourism.

An overview of intangible cultural heritage types: while the traditional craft and folk knowledge are being well promoted, folk literature, social customs and rituals are being at risk. Particularly, some ceremonies of Khmer people in Can Tho should be in need to document and record for reservation, such as Pithi Chuol nlop and traditional wedding. The main reason of the risk due to the fact that the people who do these ceremonies are too old so their memories are reduced but there are few successors. Similarly, some types of performances as hat boi (classical theatre and folk singing), ho (chantey), nhac le (ceremonial music), folk dance and so on are short of human resource because “bamboos grow old” but “young shoots do not spring up”.

In fact, preserving and promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage in Can Tho are not corresponding with the value of the heritage. “Hat boi” is an example; Can Tho has had some artisans who are very enthusiastic with their career. Sadly, artisan Bau Hieu, who had 3 generation singing folk music, died in poverty; artisan Phuong Anh, the only female leader of the folk music band in Can Tho is still busy herself with “rice, clothes and money”. Almost, they did not receive any support from the locality. Some old artisans also live by themselves.

In such situation, the project is a kick in the reservation of the intangible cultural heritage in Can Tho. The solutions proposed in the project are specific and feasible. Can Tho needs to hold a workshop on preserving and promoting the heritage in general, the intangible cultural heritage in particular, to put specific criteria into the regulation of the city Party and the annual report of the People’s Council at all levels. Especially, the policy supporting those who practice the heritage is necessary because of the proverb “Fine words butter no parsnip”.

The research method and application of the project are really good. It is the conduction of investigations and recording by modern technology the customs, habits, festivals and some other intangible forms that can be in risk. It is also the application in the system of digitizing and updating information on heritage on internet. However, the main point is raising the awareness for everybody about the value of the heritage and their responsibilities in preserving traditional values. The activities done by Can Tho cultural departments as “Back to heritage”, “Students learning heritage” and so on, also proved positive effects.

Believing that the vitality of heritage in Can Tho will be aroused from this project.


Source: Can Tho Newspaper - Translated by Minh Loan


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