Celebrating Tet traditions of Vietnam's three regions in Hanoi

Hanoi's Old Quarter these days is bustling with various activities featuring the traditional customs and rituals of lunar new year of Vietnam's three regions.
Celebrating Tet traditions of Vietnam's three regions in Hanoi ảnh 1Artists perform ca tru (ceremonial singing) (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Hanoi's Old Quarter these days is bustling with various activities featuring the traditional customs and rituals of lunar new year of Vietnam's three regions.

Tet Viet Tet Pho 2023 (Vietnamese Tet Street Tet) will be showcased at venues including Kim Ngan Communal House at 42-44 Hang Bac street, Heritage House at 87 Ma May street and Old Quarter Culture Exchange Centre at 50 Dao Duy Tu.

Visitors can see traditional decorations, art performances, calligraphy, painting and drawing, and important rituals during Tet.

“Our club has co-operated with the Old Quarter Management Board to host Tet activities for four years so far,” Nguyen Duc Binh, Head of Dinh Lang Viet Club, told Viet Nam News. “We have mobilised our members to join in various activities such as worship ceremonies, processions, erecting cay neu (Tet pole) and perform arts.

The task of popularising traditional culture can be implemented easily during Tet as people’s minds at that time are focused on their roots, ancestors and tradition, they said.

Binh said Tet is when people reunite with their families and the club members also gather in Hanoi from various regions to join in Tet activities.

“This year, the activities are organised earlier than in previous years, when Tet took place after the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month. At that time, people from afar couldn't come to Hanoi. This year, many more people from afar can join in,” he said.

“The pandemic has been controlled, so this year, the organisers want to introduce the Tet customs of the three regions. People from the southernmost province of Bac Lieu, the northwestern region and the central region flock here for Tet,” he said.

Le Viet Dung, who leads an art troupe from But village in the central province of Thanh Hoa, could not hide his pride to perform at the event.

“We perform folk songs and dances of the Thai ethnic minority group, which bears significant features of the Thai group in the western region,” he said. “This is the first time we have been invited to perform at a Tet event in downtown Hanoi. I feel very happy to join in at Tet, where the traditional cultural features of all regions are reflected including those of the Thai ethnic group. At the same time, I feel proud as among many localities and ethnic groups, the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board invited the art troupe from But Village.”

Besides folk singing and dancing, visitors can see artisans draw calligraphy and make traditional paintings, too.

“Today, I display my paintings of the Kim Hoang and Hang Trong genres and the worship paintings of ethnic groups,” said folk painting artisan Nam Chi.

Chi said each genre has special features. Hang Trong painting has special colours. In Kim Hoang genre, the background of the paper is treated in red before printing the painting. That’s why it is also called the red painting genre. Worship paintings of ethnic minority groups are often drawn in long strips of paper of some 50cm by 100cm.

“The youth now know less about folk paintings. Having a space for traditional paintings in Tet is a good way to let more people know about folk art,” he said.

Calligrapher Le Thanh Liem said he draws lucky characters for people at this event.

“Vietnamese people like calligraphy work to hang at home as decorations during Tet,” he said. “Popular characters are An (Peace), Phuc (Happiness), Loc (Wealth), Tho (Longevity), Tai (Talent), Dang Khoa (Success). People want the calligraphy works to bring them luck and remind them to overcome difficulties, to encourage them to study harder. The works are like reminder for people, not anything magical.”

Liem said the characters are of Han, Nom and Vietnamese Romanised letters drawn in paper with Chinese ink.

Ten-year-old Hoang Thi Minh An from Hai Phong city accompanied her dad to the event.

“Normally, I also perform ca trù like my dad,” she said. “I feel happy and excited to join in Tet Viet activities as I can make a small contribution to preserve cultural heritage.”

An said she wanted to share her passion and encourage her friends to learn ca tru melodies.

“I teach my friends simple songs that I know,” she said.

Luciano Ammazzini, a tourist from Italy, said he was impressed with the decorations and activities here.

“This is my last day here,” he said. “Next time, I will return in Tet time to experience a lunar new year in Vietnam.”

People can see traditional food as offerings to ancestors in Heritage House on Ma May street, where artisans also trim narcissus bulbs. The flowers will come into full bloom during Tet. Visitors can also make banh chung (square sticky rice cake) at the house.

At the Culture & Arts Centre at 22 Hang Buom street, a photo exhibition themed From Heritage to Contemporary Time and traditional music performances will take place everyday.

The Ho Guom Information Culture Centre at No. 2 Le Thai To street will host a contest for children with the theme of the cat and display ceramic works of cats by artist Nguyen Van Toan and a virtual 3D technology space featuring art works.

Phung Hung Graffiti Street will gather artisans of traditional handicrafts such as folk painting, calligraphy, ceramics, rattan wares, clay figurines, goods and food for Tet. Art shows will be performed there on the weekend.

The Tet Viry Tet Phố 2023 will take place until January 28, while the activities on Phung Hung street will end on January 20./.

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