Binh Thuan preserving Cham cultural heritage

With a population numbering more than 40,000, the Cham ethnic minority group in Binh Thuan province boasts a treasure trove of cultural heritage items. Over the years, the province has paid due regard to promoting Cham culture in tandem with developing local tourism.

Kate is the most outstanding festival of the Cham ethnic minority in Binh Thuan province, during which they pay tribute to ancient gods and deliver wishes for bumper harvests and the growth of all beings. The festival’s major rituals have been preserved, including the genie costume procession, the opening of the tower gates, and genie statue bathing, among others.

Boasting huge historical and cultural values, the Kate Festival has been recognised as an intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Over the past 15 years, the Kate Festival has been held at Po Sah Inu Tower, and become one of six standout festivals selected for tourism development. Beyond promoting the spiritual and cultural lives of the Cham ethnic minority, the festival has also contributed greatly to boosting Binh Thuan’s image among domestic and foreign visitors.

The art of pottery making is another unique cultural trait of the Cham people. It was included last year on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding, creating motivation for the Cham ethnic minority people to maintain their heritage and develop tourism in a sustainable fashion.

Alongside its stunning landscapes, Binh Thuan can also capitalise on local cultural traits, especially those of the Cham ethnic minority, to attract more visitors./.