President Truong Tan Sang hailed the national unity at the opening ceremony of the National Great Solidarity - Vietnamese Cultural Heritage Week in Hanoi on November 18.

He stressed that solidarity was still the strongest source of power to help the country develop in a time of industrialisation and modernisation to build a socialist Vietnam.

The president noted that national solidarity was a good tradition and a cultural heritage of the people, which created great strength to help the whole nation achieve many victories over thousands of years of history.

Hundreds of representatives from the 54 ethnic groups throughout the country took part in the opening ceremony of the week at the Culture-Tourism Village of Dong Mo, in Son Tay town.

The week aims to strengthen unity between all the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, which needed to be respected, maintained and developed, according to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan.

It is also a channel to introduce and popularise Vietnam and the village - which is considered a "common house" to all the ethnic groups - and foreign friends.

Throughout the week, a wide variety of traditional festivals, performances and dances, as well as the daily activities of people from all parts of the country will be organised.

A sculpture camp that gathered 30 artists from the Central Highland provinces of Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Kon Tum opened on November 18.

An exhibition of the best of Vietnam's traditional handicraft villages showcasing their talents will also be open throughout the week. Traditional festivals, performances and dances from across the country will be organised to celebrate the nation's cultural diversity.

The well-known floating markets of Cai Rang and Phung Hiep in Can Tho city along with ethnic markets from mountainous regions will be opened on November 20 and run throughout the weekend, while jockeys will race oxen from Hanoi to Dong Mo on November 21 morning and November 23 afternoon.

Organisers will also introduce the spiritual rituals and ceremonies of various ethnic groups such as the Lu from Lai Chau (on November 19 afternoon), the Jrai from Gia Lai province (on November 19 afternoon) and the Ta Oi from Quang Tri province (November 20 afternoon).

Kites are expected to play a starring role throughout the week. Additionally, workshops on preserving and promoting heritage and cultural values will be held during the event, which will end on November 24.-VNA