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VietNamNews

Festivals should stick to their roots

Update: July, 04/2015 - 09:36
Pig slaughtering festival at Nem Thuong Village in northern province Bac Ninh. — Photo vnexpress.net
HA NOI (VNS) — Comparatively new festivals involving animal slaughter, mostly aimed at making profits for local organisers, will not be permitted from next year, Culture Minister Hoang Tuan Anh has said.

The minister was speaking at a workshop held on Thursday to review management tasks during the festival season in the first half of this year.

The online workshop gathered dozens of researchers and cultural officials from three main cities: Ha Noi, HCM City, and Da Nang.

Anh admitted that during the first half of the year, there were many festivals that involved animal slaughter such as the pig slaughtering festival at Nem Thuong Village in northern province Bac Ninh and Cau Trau festival in Huong Nha Commune, Xuan Quan District, northern province Phu Tho, which had a ceremony of breaking a buffalo's head.

Such brutal practices have raised many debates in the society, he said.

"Though animal slaughter happens only at village festivals, news about them reach international audiences thanks to the easy access to modern information technology today," he noted.

That's why the Culture Ministry will cooperate with local authorities throughout the country to stop such brutality and chaos at festivals, which have negative effects on local communities and harm Viet Nam's image among the international community, he stressed.

According to Vu Xuan Thanh, an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, a workshop on the custom of animal slaughter at festivals was held earlier this year, where scientists admitted that such customs can be reformed to suit existing social situations.

"We need to carefully research these customs to retain their positive features and give up negative ones and remodel them to suit the modern society," he remarked.

Deputy head of the ministry's Heritage Department Nong Quoc Thanh stressed on the need to enhance public awareness and consensus in the society on the matter rather than prohibiting or changing traditional customs.

Thanh said State management agencies do not prohibit people from organising festivals, but customs involving animal slaughter should be carried out in a civilised manner so that they do not prompt strong reactions from the community.

Locals at Nem Thuong Village in Bac Ninh Province have altered their practice of pig slaughter.

In the past few years, the pig slaughter ceremony has not been carried out at local communal houses in front of all the people.

"We now perform the ceremony at the back yard of the site, where fewer people can see the slaughter," said Nguyen Dinh Loi, deputy head of the festival' organising board at Nem Thuong Village.

Loi said the event is held to revive the glorious victories of General Ly Doan Thuong's forces hundreds of years ago. Hence, it has been a part of the village tradition.

The ministry has reported that management tasks at festivals in the first half of the year have scored better than previous years. Many localities have taken greater care of traffic order, security, food hygiene, and tourism services at festivals and successfully associated festivals with tourism.

However, at some localities, where too many agencies are involved in organising festivals, there have been complications over profit-sharing among organisers.

Many festivals have turned into profit-making sources for organisers.

There are nearly 8,000 festivals organised throughout the country each year, of this 88 per cent are folk festivals, 4.2 per cent are historical festivals, 6.3 per cent are religious events, while 0.12 per cent have been adopted from overseas. — VNS



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