Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports has issued a plan to organize the Hanoi amateur Water Puppet Art Festival in 2021.

Water puppetry originated in the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam. Photo: vietnamtravel.com

Under the plan, the annual festival will be held on May 17 at Thay Pagoda relic site, Sai Son commune, Quoc Oai district, Hanoi.

Puppet masters, non-professional members of traditional water puppet troupes from all around Hanoi will join in a single water puppet show, which last for at least 25 minutes.

Each performance puppet show contest should to re-enact glorious historical events of the nation; present the daily life and work of Vietnamese people; and promote the cultural value of Vietnam.

Water puppetry originated in the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam around the 10th century, where almost all towns and villages have communal ponds, which were used as the puppet show stage.

The stage of a water puppet show. Photo: vietnamtravel.com

The villages of Thach That and Dao Thuc in Hanoi and Rach and Nguyen Xa in the nearby provinces of Nam Dinh and Thai Binh are some of the earliest known centers of water puppetry.

Traditionally, water puppetry performances portray the daily life of Vietnamese farmers (cultivating, tending buffalo, and catching fish), communal entertainment (swimming races and dragon dancing), or historical legends (like Le Loi returning the precious sword to the Golden Turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake) appealing to audiences for centuries.