Foreign Diplomats and Businesspeople Educate Themselves on the Unique Folk Culture of Bac Ninh

Every year since 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized the "Learn about Vietnam Day" in order to inform the international community of Vietnam's socio-economic progress and to showcase its culture.

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Source: Bac Ninh Quan Ho folk songs Theater
Visitors had the chance to enjoy quan họ (love duet) held recently in the northern province. Source: Bac Ninh Quan Ho folk songs Theater

The authorities of Bac Ninh province and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) recently co-organized a captivating event to explore the attractive qualities of the northern province, as reported by Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Attending the program were Ha Kim Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Vietnam National Committee for UNESCO; Saadi Salama, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Vietnam and Head of the Diplomatic Delegation; Vu Thi Bich Ngoc, Honorary Chairwoman of the ASEAN Women’s Circle in Hanoi (AWCH Group); and nearly 150 delegates, including ambassadors, heads of representatives from diplomatic corps and international organizations in Vietnam, newly-appointed domestic ambassadors, AWCH members, and foreign business associations in Vietnam.

Source: Bac Ninh Quan Ho folk songs Theater
Source: Bac Ninh Quan Ho folk songs Theater

The most recent edition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Learning about Vietnam Session” took place this year and has been held annually since 2015. This event is designed to provide an update on Vietnam’s socio-economic progress and to further promote its culture to the international community.

In his opening address, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, stated that Bac Ninh is looking to receive assistance from the delegates in order to further promote its image, cultural heritage, and business atmosphere to the global community.

He appealed to the public for assistance in the province’s endeavor to have the Dong Ho folk painting craft included on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding by 2024.

As a nation that has been home to a civilization for thousands of years, Vietnam values culture as a source of national strength and is committed to promoting its cultural values for sustainable development and adding to the world’s cultural heritage, stated Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc.

Ngoc stated that the Ministry will remain dedicated to aiding Bac Ninh in safeguarding its cultural essence and showcasing such values to foreign friends.

The delegates were recently treated to a range of culturally enriching activities, including a visit to the Dong Ho folk painting conservation centre in Thuan Thanh town, sampling local delicacies, and being captivated by the performance of Bac Ninh’s beloved Quan ho (love duet) singing – an UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Participants enjoy water puppetry in Dong Ngu village, Thuan Thanh district in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Source: bacninh.gov.vn
Participants enjoy water puppetry in Dong Ngu village, Thuan Thanh district in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Source: bacninh.gov.vn
At  an exhibition house to introduce Dong Ho, an outstanding folk painting genre which is on the verge of oblivion.
At an exhibition house to introduce Dong Ho, an outstanding folk painting genre. Source: Dong Ho folk painting conservation centre
the exhibition house covers over 500 sq.m with more than 1,000 documents and objects reflecting the history of the painting genre, its values and the preservation work.
The exhibition house covers over 500 sq.m with more than 1,000 documents and objects reflecting the history of the painting genre, its values and the preservation work. Source: Dong Ho folk painting conservation centre
Visiting local students.
Visiting local students.

Bac Ninh Province is renowned for its long-standing and rich culture, boasting 1,589 historic relics, of which 643 have been classified. These include four special national, 204 national, and 435 provincial relics, as well as 14 national treasures.

Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on September 30, 2009. In the years since, the province of Bac Ninh has made great strides in upholding its commitments to UNESCO to preserve and promote this art form, resulting in impressive accomplishments.

Quan ho singing is a traditional art form in which male and female singers take turns exchanging verses in an alternating response format. It is often performed during rituals, festivals, competitions, and informal gatherings, where guests will typically sing a variety of verses to their hosts before bidding them farewell.

Meanwhile, as part of the national intangible cultural heritage, Dong Ho painting or Dong Ho folk woodcut painting is an acclaimed genre of Vietnamese folk art that originated from the Dong Ho village in Bac Ninh province in the 17th century.

Hannah Nguyen