Vietnam currently has over 8,000 festivals from grass-roots to national levels that can be divided into such categories as folk, historic-revolutionary, religious, foreign-origin, and cultural-sport-tourism.
The last category has emerged during the country’s renewal process and international integration.
In Vietnam, Spring is seen as the season of festivals. Since the old days, traditional festivals have become an indispensable part of people’s life.
The traditional festivals evoke patriotism, national sense, massive solidarity, exchanges. They are also platforms to preserve, pass down the national culture. However, some festivals still contain “non-cultural” activities that should be eradicated.
Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh, folk culture scholar, member of the National Heritage Council said that recent festivals are featured with suddenly growing participants, imposing challenges for authorities to mange and organise.
The establishment of too many altars and merit boxes in historic relics has contributed to reducing spiritual aspect of the relics, deforming festivals and citing the sense of material appreciation in the society, he continued.
In recent years, local authorities have often interfered in festivals which originally belonged to the masses. This naturally causes them to become viewers of festivals.
What should be done now is to let the masses master the festivals and local authorities just take supporting role to make sure that the values of the festivals could be promoted, Dr. Thinh said.
He proposed that there are five values of festivals that we need to preserve to nurture people’s cultural identities as follows:
Firstly, festivals satisfy people’s thirst to return to the roots. The more modern the society is, the more people wish to learn about their original nation, nature and history.
Secondly, through festivals, people often want to demonstrate the strength of their communities or regions that is not only necessary for the past but also for the current course of modernisation and industrialisation.
Thirdly, the festivals provide room for people to come in for and create culture. In the past, festivals are important events in daily life. In modern time, despite many forms of culture creation, people still need festivals to practice community culture.
Fourthly, the festivals help people to balance spiritual and real life, drive people forward to achieving more beautiful and noble things. In the old days, festivals were kinds of entertainment to create harmony.
Last but not least, the festivals are also platforms for people to preserve, archive and pass down traditional cultural identities to the next generations. It is way to ensure our long-lasting and harmonious culture.
Collected by Vietnam hotel