Hanoi’s Do singing: A Recognized National Intangible Heritage

The accreditation is expected to boost the global recognition of Hanoi's distinctive cultural heritage and enhance the city's appeal to travelers from around the world.


Liep Tuyet Hat Do or Do singing on Hanoi’s outskirts of Quoc Oai has been recognized as a new national intangible cultural heritage.

Hanoi’s Do singing is recognized as national intangible cultural heritage. Photo: Phuong Nga/The Hanoi Times

Founded in Hanoi’s rural district of Quoc Oai, Hat Do or Do singing is a unique traditional art form that embodies the rich cultural identity and aesthetic values of Vietnam.

With a history spanning several centuries, this type of singing is closely linked to the legend of Tan Vien Son Thanh, also known as the Saint of Tan Vien Mountain.

Tan Vien Son Thanh is one of the four immortals in traditional Vietnamese mythology. It is said that he ruled over all creatures on land and taught people various skills such as farming, hunting, fishing, martial arts, and organizing festivals.

Do singing originated as a way for locals to express their aspirations for favorable natural conditions and a happy, prosperous life.

Do singing can be categorized into three genres: Hat Tho or Worship Singing, which is usually performed inside temples, and Hat Truc and Hat Mua Bo Bo, which are more informal forms of Do singing performed outside temples.

Do singing is one of the 14 recently recognized national intangible heritages by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Performed without instrumental accompaniment, Do singing utilizes only beats and fans as props. The songs often praise the beauty of nature and depict human beings’ desire to conquer nature.

According to ancient customs, the singers must be young, unmarried women who are not in mourning for any deceased relatives.

“Apart from its legendary origins, Do singing is also a remarkable human creation. It is truly a precious gem in the cultural heritage of our nation that must be preserved and handed down from generation to generation,” said Professor Dr. To Ngoc Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Folk Arts Association.

The Do Singing Festival takes place from the 10th to the 15th of the first lunar month. Since the event is held only once every 36 years, knowledge of this folk singing tradition has been primarily transmitted through word of mouth and is at risk of being forgotten.

Folk artist Nguyen Thi Lan and young members of Liep Tuyet Commune’s Do Singing Club. Photo courtesy of the club

Established in 1999 by folk artist Nguyen Thi Lan, the Liep Tuyet Commune Do Singing Club is the only place in Hanoi where this folk art is practiced. The club currently boasts over 1,000 members, including 35 students who regularly participate in training and performances. For the people of Liep Tuyet, Do singing has become a customary cultural activity.

Lan and her club members now have the opportunity to perform at festivals and events in Quoc Oai District. They are even invited to neighboring provinces to introduce this folk song to audiences throughout the country.

“Nowadays, the younger generations of Liep Tuyet Commune, from kindergarten to high school, are all familiar with Do singing. This brings me joy and keeps me motivated to preserve our tradition,” Lan said.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism recently acknowledged the efforts of local people and government authorities in preserving Do singing. They praised the tremendous value of this folk performance and designated it as one of the national intangible heritages.

Speaking at the ceremony celebrating Do singing’s recognition as a national cultural heritage, Vice Chairman of Quoc Oai District People’s Committee Hoang Nguyen Ung affirmed that this recognition will enable better protection and promotion of Do singing within the community. Simultaneously, it contributes to the conservation and promotion of Hanoi’s cultural heritage.

Do singing performance by Liep Tuyet Do Singing Club

Video credit: Huyen Kieu