The northern province of Nam Dinh has held a ceremony to receive certificates officially recognising its Phu Day festival and Chau Van (spiritual singing) ritual as pieces of National Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Both are closely linked with Goddess Lieu Hanh, who is worshipped in the Mother Goddess religion and one of the Four Immortals in Vietnamese legends.
The festival, the biggest among numerous activities celebrating Goddess Lieu Hanh in the country, is held annually at the Phu Day historical and cultural relic site in Kim Thai commune, Vu Ban district - considered the spiritual centre of the Mother Goddess religion.
The site is also the cradle of “hau bong”, an age-old spiritual ritual of the Kinh ethnic group, and Chau Van singing, which is indispensable in the worshipping practice of the Mother Goddess religion.
Chau Van was created during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400) and Nam Dinh province is considered its birthplace.
The highly rhythmic and trance-oriented form of singing often takes place during rituals to honour the Mother Goddesses and connect to other gods. It is performed mostly at temples and pagodas.
The music and poetry performed in the folk art are mingled with a variety of rhythms, pauses, tempos, stresses and pitches. The genre has also adopted folk songs from the highlands of the north, centre and south.
The latest recognition helps preserve and promote the historical and cultural values of the heritage and will help the province as it tries to persuade the Prime Minister to recognise Phu Day as a national special relics site and UNESCO to acknowledge the Chau Van ritual as a piece of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.