The traditional Sinh wrestling festival in Hue will be held next year on a new stage in an effort to modernise the event and preserve the festival’s traditional venue, which is now in ruins.

The organising committee of the festival said the annual festival will no longer take place in front yard of the Lai An village’s pavilion, where it has been staged for hundreds of years.

The province on February 23 held the wrestling festival on a stage temporarily set up on a paddy field in Lai An village, which is located in Phu Vang district in Thua Thien-Hue province.

Nguyen Van Giao, chairman of the district’s Phu Mau commune, said a bigger stage was needed.

“The festival is for everyone, but the yard is too small. It is only wide enough for a few hundred people,” said Pham Tien Dung, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Some residents oppose the idea, however, including Phan Trach Bao, the head of Lai An village.

Hue researcher Trieu Nguyen, chairman of the province’s Folklore Art Association, said the wrestling event, which is a traditional game, could become a boxing performance with a large stage and stadium.

“This causes a loss of the tradition features,” he said.

The event, held annually on the 10 th day of the Lunar New Year, requires no stage or stadium. Wresters compete on a bare yard with shouting crowds encircling the area.

The village’s Committee of Old-aged People on February 23 had a ritual ceremony to worship the “wrestling saint”, refusing to move the procession to the stage.

The village is also famous for its traditional ritual paintings, known as Sinh village paintings, which are printed on carved wooden blocks. The handicraft paintings are used as part of the ritual ceremonies./.