Malaysia Introduced to Vietnam’s Cultural Heritage

As part of a series of working visits, Vietnamese artisans will be exchanging, learning about, and promoting Vietnam's folk art and culture through a Vietnam-Malaysia arts and cultural exchange.

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 the Mother Goddess Worshipping belief is very important to Vietnamese people. Photo: VNA
The Mother Goddess Worshipping belief is very important to Vietnamese people. Photo: VNA

On June 11, an artistic and cultural exchange between Vietnam and Malaysia was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two nations.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Malaysia-Vietnam relations (1973-2023), the Malaysia-Vietnam Friendship Association is organizing a people-to-people exchange program. This program is also part of a series of working visits by Vietnamese artisans to Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, in order to exchange, study, and promote Vietnam’s folk art and culture in the region.

The event attracted over 120 representatives from the Vietnamese Embassy, businesses, and the Vietnamese community in Malaysia.

Tran Thi Chang, president of the Malaysia-Vietnam Friendship Association, expressed in her remarks that the event presents a chance for people from both countries to explore some of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages that have been recognized by UNESCO, such as Chau Van, Quan Ho, and Cheo. Chau Van is a traditional folk art in northern Vietnam which combines singing and dancing, Quan Ho is a type of duet love singing, and Cheo is a Vietnamese traditional opera.

Chang believes that cultural and artistic exchanges will help foster the appreciation of Vietnamese cultural heritage within the Vietnamese community in Malaysia and also encourage Malaysians to appreciate the traditional art and culture of Vietnam.

Addressing the event, former Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Azmil Zabidi highlighted the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Malaysia as an opportunity to carry out cultural exchange activities. Addressing the event, former Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Azmil Zabidi emphasised that the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Malaysia is a great chance for the two countries to organise cultural exchange activities.

Quan ho (love duet) singing at the event. Photo: VNA
Quan ho (love duet) singing at the event. Photo: VNA
Vietnamese artists and delegates at the event. Source: Malaysia-Vietnam Friendship Association
Vietnamese artists and delegates at the event. Source: Malaysia-Vietnam Friendship Association

The highlight of the event was the remarkable performance of Vietnamese artisans. Mother Goddess worship, which was officially acknowledged by UNESCO as a global intangible cultural heritage in late 2016, is an ancient tradition in Vietnam that has endured through many social changes.

The belief in Mother Goddess shows people’s hope for health, wealth, and luck. The “hau dong” ritual is the most important element of this worship, according to Kien.

The practitioners of the Mother Goddess spirit pantheon include temple guardians, ritual priests, spirit mediums, mediums’ assistants, musicians who provide music for the spirits, disciples, and lay adherents who share the same belief in the spiritual power, supernatural strength, and protection of the Mother Goddesses. These practitioners form groups who come together to worship, participate in traditional festivals, and perform spirit possession rituals in temples and palaces devoted to the Mother Goddesses.

Performances by Malaysian dancers. Photo: VNA
Performances by Malaysian dancers. Photo: VNA

Attending the event, Liena Abdullah expressed her delight and wished that more Vietnamese people would come to study and work in Malaysia, while Malaysians would visit Vietnam to study and work as well. This would create more opportunities for people from both nations to learn about one another and their respective countries.

Artist Cao Xuan Van was proud to have the chance to share Vietnamese culture with Malaysia, and he was delighted to experience the art of their country. He wished for more opportunities for both nations to have cultural and artistic exchanges like this in the future.

Hannah Nguyen