The mountainous northern province of Tuyen Quang on February 17 organised the Long Tong festival, a typical cultural feature of the Tay ethnic people in the north.

The Long Tong festival, which represents “going to the fields”, starts on the eighth day of the first lunar month. It reflects local people's desire for good crops and health.

The ceremony involves solemn rituals in honour of local spirits to thank them for the crops and to ask for their support so local people can enjoy favourable weather conditions and have a comfortable and happy life in the New Year.

The event also features diverse folk games including ‘nem con’ (a game in which boys and girls throw cloth balls) and tug-of-war.

Addressing the event, Director of the Tuyen Quang Provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department Nguyen Viet Thanh said the Long Tong festival is part of the Tay ethnic people’s life and reflects their wish for favourable weather conditions and good crops, which is the most important thing of the wet rice civilisation.

Also at the event, the Tay ethnic group’s Then singing rituals were recognised as part of the national intangible heritage.

Then singing, which reflects the daily activities and expresses the emotions of working people, is a distinctive musical genre of the Tay communities. Then singing is practised by the Tay people in Chiem Hoa, Na Hang and Lam Binh districts.

On December 27, 2012, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism added Then singing rituals to the national intangible cultural heritage list.

The government has also agreed in principle with Tuyen Quang province’s proposal to compile a dossier of Then singing in order to seek UNESCO recognition as part of the world intangible cultural heritage.-VNA