The festival began with a dance with flags by more than 100 children and artists, featuring impressively the voyage of the transfer of the capital city from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Thang Long (now Hanoi). It was a celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi and the 50th anniversary of the sister cities of Hanoi – Hue - Saigon.
The opening ceremony, which saw the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong, included performances by artists from France, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Belgium. With the theme “Cultural Heritage with Integration and Development”, the Hue Festival this year, from June 5-13, will have a wide range of large-scale, impressive cultural shows.
It will see re-enactments reviving royal rituals such as the Nam Giao Offering Ritual, Dem Hoang Cung – the Royal Place by Night—a colourful blend of food and wine served at a royal banquet and a spectacular lights show. Highlights of the festival will include the “Kham Pha Huyen Thoai Song Huong” programme, which offers snapshots of the river’s history, legends and beauty, and “Hanh Trinh Mo Coi” which presents the nation’s journey to reclaim the lands in the south of the country from the 10th century to 1945.
The Naval manoeuvres of Lord Nguyen Phuc Lan, will also be re-enacted on the Huong River to celebrate the 375 years since Lord Lan chose Kim Long as the capital city. Close to 1,000 people and 72 warships are expected to take part in the event.
In particular, the three forms of traditional Vietnamese arts that have been recognised by UNESCO as world cultural heritages – Nha Nhac (royal music), Ca Tru (ceremonial singing) and Quan Ho (love duets ) and other traditional types of music like Cheo (traditional opera) and folk songs will be performed together in a programme called “The Breath of Water.”
Dem Phuong Dong (Oriental night) will spotlight the charming and unique beauty of several Asian costumes, including the Vietnamese Ao Dai (traditional long dress).
According to the organisers, the festival will see the participation of over 1,500 artists and performers from 48 foreign troupes from 28 countries around the world, and 17 local troupes.
First held in 2000, the biennial Hue Festival has been a tremendous success. In 2008, the festival attracted nearly 2,000 domestic and foreign artists and 180,000 visitors, including 30,000 from overseas.