DA LAT — The Da Lat Historical Village will host a festival to commemorate the so-called ancestor of embroidery, Le Cong Hanh, who lived in the 16th century.
The festival, in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat, will run from July 29-30.
Le Cong Hanh, whose real name was Tran Quoc Khai, was a mandarin in the 16th century. He brought high levels of the craft back from China - and taught people in his homeland.
Gradually, the art spread until Viet Nam was producing its own unique type of embroidery.
For the last 300 years, the nation's embroiderers have held a ceremony to commemorate him every year on the 12th day of the sixth lunar month.
This year the anniversary of his death falls on July 30. This month's festival will focus on filial devotion, a major theme throughout Vietnamese life.
Many thousands of embroiderers and visitors from the whole country are expected to attend.
The festival will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of Viet Nam's most prestigious embroidery producers, the XQ Hand-embroidery Company, said director Vo Van Quan.
Female artisans at XQ Company are known for creating sophisticated embroidery paintings using original techniques.
"This year's festival respects the ancestor who created a beautiful, peaceful country with many unique crafts including hand-embroidery," said Quan.
The rites will start with offerings in a procession to honour the ancestor of the trade. It will be followed by a ceremony to display wedding dresses - and even the sombre funeral clothing.
"There are two times a woman is most beautiful in their whole life, when she's on her wedding bed and deathbed," Quan said. "A female embroiderer always wants to make herself two beautiful dresses for these occasions."
On the first day, the festival will also feature Spice Road, a cuisine party to introduce the spices from throughout Viet Nam that give Vietnamese food its special flavour.
On the second day, visitors will be given a chance to try dishes inspired by Da Lat – the city of flowers. The food will be cooked by XQ embroiderers.
"When the embroiderers are getting old, they use their skilful hands for cooking," said director Quan. "Their dishes are as wonderful as the paintings they embroider."
During the festival, romantic songs and poems will be performed for visitors. Embroiderers will also sketch visitors' portraits as a present for them. — VNS