Dang Xuan Thanh, a man of the Dao Tien ethnic group in Bung village in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan, was the first person to establish an arts group to revive his people’s cultural features that were almost lost.

Bung village was once completely inhabited by Dao Tien people, but now many Dao Tien men have married women of the Tay ethnic group.

Thanh said each ethnic group has their own identities which need to be preserved, or descendants will not know about their traditions, culture and origin.

He thinks that to preserve and uphold cultural values, dedicated people and movements are needed. Therefore, in 1997 he established an arts group and asked elderly people who could still remember the traditional customs and songs to teach young people.

Thanks to their wholehearted help, the group members have learnt many traditional dances and songs which used to be performed at festivals, as well as the procedures and prayers in rituals.

Notably, the group’s performance of the dance praying for bumper crops won first prize at an amateur arts festival in 1997.

Nowadays, Dao Tien people in Bung village still grow cotton trees by themselves to weave cloth and make clothes the same way they have done for generations. They still wear traditional costumes like long coats, cockscomb-shaped hats, scarves and shin-pads in their festivals.

Trieu Thi Huyen, Thanh’s wife, also joins him and the group when they perform at events across the region.

Huyen said Dao Tien women treasure their traditional costume very much; they are happy and proud to wear the clothes.

Dao Tien drums, gongs, horns and cymbals are preserved at Thanh’s house, displayed in the best places.

His family members also use the Dao language in their daily lives and persuade other villagers to keep their own language.

To sustainably preserve and uphold the cultural identities of ethnic groups and Dao Tien people in particular, relevant agencies need to pay attention, create more favourable conditions and make adequate investment, he said.-VNA