Twelve groups and 59 individuals were honoured at a ceremony in the northern province of Phu Tho on February 18 for their contributions to preserving hat Xoan (Xoan singing), the world intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection.

The event aimed to make Xoan singing, one of national cultural heritages, a draw to tourists to realise this year’s national tourism programme, which has set to promote “heritage tourism”.

Present at the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan stressed preserving and promoting the values of Xoan singing is the heavy responsibility of all people, artists, artisans and the authorities and residents of Phu Tho province as well.

He affirmed the Party and State’s attentions to the preservation and development of cultural values of the nation in combination with tourism development as it has been defined clearly in the Vietnam tourism development strategy to 2020 with a vision to 2030.

Xoan singing, a vocal art of villages in the ancestral land of Phu Tho , is usually performed in front of the communal house during village festivals in the spring.

Based on legends and historical, archaeological and social records, researchers say that Xoan singing first appeared from the time when the Hung Kings established the nation.

Xoan singing share several similarities with the lullaby. Many of the songs are about love, but it is also a kind of folk music that praises a village genie. There are many forms of performances, including the duet and group singing accompanied by several kinds of dances.

Xoan festivals are often held in spring in village temples. On the fifth day of the first lunar month, these traditional songs are performed at the Hung Temple festival .

On this occasion, Phu Tho authorities adopted an action programme to protect and promote Xoan singing./.