With the arrival of spring in the northern midland province of Phu Tho - the nation’s ancestral land - the bells of traditional dancing are ringing in the villages of the Dao ethnic people who live here.

In their dances, up to 40 Dao performers rhythmically ring colourfully decorated bronze bells while singing folk songs about features of life such as marriage and childbirth.

Girls and boys wallow in the bustling atmosphere, which is enhanced by the sounds of other musical instruments such as drums, two-chord fiddles and flutes.

To the ethnic group, the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays last until the end of the first lunar month. During this time, the dance is organised in turns by families in populous villages.

67-year-old Trieu Tien Phuc from Vo Mieu commune, Thanh Son district, has performed the dance for more than four decades. He has handed down this to the young generations in his village.

“A Dao person must know how to perform the bell dance, which appears in all important events of this ethnic group such as the maturity ceremony, grave-visiting festival, insect killing festival and full-moon days of the first and seventh lunar months,” he said.

The bell dance is seen as a ritual through which the Dao people pay their respects to their ancestors and ask for blessings for their good health and smooth business.

However, the traditional dance is standing on the verge of oblivion as it has to compete with various modern genres of arts.

Given this situation, Thanh Son district has rolled out an array of solutions to protect and bring into full play local traditional cultural values.

The locality has encouraged local people to restore the dance and stage them at art performances at both grassroots and provincial levels.-VNA