|View of a bai choi game at Thanh Toan Village in Hue. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
HA NOI (VNS) — Bai choi, a traditional game combining folklore singing and lottery picks, recently gained national cultural heritage status, and experts believe it will achieve world heritage status in the near future.
Last month, the game was honoured in a ceremony held in central Phu Yen Province, one of the localities that own bai choi.The game is popular in the central stretch of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Binh Dinh, as well as Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.
The game was invented nearly 400 years ago and serves as a community game for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in the central region. The game often takes place on a wide yard in front of communal houses and gathers the entire community together.
According to experts, the game combines beauties from rural work, folklore singing and the Tet customs of rice farmers.
Bai choisinging includes the traditional values and tunes of numerous kinds of Vietnamese music but is a truly unique art form, said Nguyen Thi My Liem, associate professor of the HCM City Music Academy.
In 2010, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourismworkedwith Binh Dinh cultural authorities to revive the game in the central region after decades of idleness. It is now popular in Hue, in Hoi An during the festival and in Binh Dinh every week for visitors.
According to Nguyen An Pha, chairman of the Binh Dinh Union of Culture and Art Associations and abai choiresearcher, the ministry has assigned Binh Dinh to chair the profiling for bai chois UNESCO heritage status.
"We are working on a complete profile for UNESCO and expect better conservation of the art form from the surge of contemporary art," Pha said. — VNS