The rich culture of ethnic communities in northern coastal Quang Ninh province and northeastern regions was highlighted at the spectacular Carnival Ha Long 2012 held on May 1 night.

An event to mark the province's Ha Long Bay being listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the carnival was the biggest ever since first held five years ago.

Thousands of people, including many foreign tourists, enjoyed special performances featuring the hospitality and beauty of Quang Ninh's people and land.

In addition, performances by art troupes from the Republic of Korea , China , Laos and the Philippines created extra cultural diversity at the event.

A colourful parade gathering thousands of ethnic people living in the province took place on the city's main street alongside the beach.

Unlike other previous carnivals, where most of the performers were professional artists, this year's event gathered more than 3,000 ethnic performers drawn from the San Chay, San Diu, Tay and Dao.

The tourists also had a chance to learn about the unique cultural of different ethnic groups when several traditional festivals and customs were presented.

They wallowed in the festive atmosphere of a traditional wrestling competition of Quang Yen district, or a rice-planting kick off ritual from women of the Ha Nam Island in Yen Hung district.

While the San Diu group living in Van Don replicated a traditional wedding, the Dao, Hoang Bo and San Chay groups presented folk dances.

The carnival became more beautiful with a spectacular fireworks performance presented by French artists.

The parade was also joined by a group of 300 local Buddhists, aiming to promote the spiritual culture of the province, considered as a cradle of Vietnamese Buddhism. The 1,068m above sea level Yen Tu Mountain in the province is the place where King Tran Nhan Tong in the 13th century founded the Truc Lam Zen School . The site attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, contributing significantly to the province's socio-economic development.

Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hoang Tuan Anh, President of the New7Wonders Foundation Bernard Weber and representatives of other New Seven Wonders of Nature participated in the event.-VNA