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Hanoi’s traditional tug of war pulls national recognition

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Thach Ban ward in Hanoi’s Long Bien district received special certification on April 21 recognising its local tug of war custom as a piece of national intangible cultural heritage.

The tug of war is part of a local festival held on the third day of the third lunar month (April 21 this year) to commemorate the birthday of Saint Huyen Thien Tran Vu.

To play this game, two teams sit on the ground and pull a rattan rope through a hole in a wooden pole planted in the middle.

The practice is meant to pray to the saint for good luck and an abundant supply of water for agricultural activities and daily use.

Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Van Huy, a member of the National Cultural Heritage Council, said the locality has succeeded in preserving and upholding the original values and form of the game, and has resisted turning it into a sport for competition.

Earlier this month, another local tug of war tradition, this time in Huong Canh town in northern Vinh Phuc province, was also honoured as national intangible cultural heritage.

That game, also using a rattan rope, replicated the practices of naval forces led by national hero Ngo Quyen who was best remembered for helping Vietnam defeat invading troops from the Southern Han state of China on the Bach Dang River in 938.-VNA
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