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Mo Muong values saved in Hoa Binh

Update: December, 30/2015 - 08:33
Cultural heritage: A Muong sorcerer conducts a worship ceremony. photo
HOA BINH (VNS) — The values of the Mo Muong, a unique cultural heritage of the ethnic Muong who live in the northern province of Hoa Binh, was the main theme of a recent workshop held in the province.

Many cultural specialists, cultural researchers and senior Mo Muong sorcerers attended the workshop, along with members of the steering committee for compiling documents about the heritage.

According to those speaking at the workshop, the Hoa Binh provincial cultural authority will continue to promote scientific research about the Mo Muong culture, as well as cooperate with the Ministry of Culture to study and propose solutions to preserve and promote the heritage.

The province will also prepare directives for the controlling authority to coordinate with the Ministry of Culture to propose that Mo Muong be accepted as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Addressing the workshop, Nguyen Van Chuong, vice chairman of Hoa Binh Province's People's Committee, stressed that the discussions and research that provides new information about Mo Muong heritage, as well as solutions to preserving and promoting it, should be jointly conducted by related organisations.

Further, the local authority was urged to develop their own solutions, establish a typical space for Mo Muong heritage and prioritise the construction of a traditional Muong village, which will act as a museum of the heritage, he added.

After the workshop, the organisation board will publish a summary record of the workshop, which will be an important reference among the scientific documents of Mo Muong cultural heritage in Hoa Binh.

The attendees also raised concerns about other issues, such as cultural values of the heritage, as well as concerning the translation of the Muong language into Vietnamese or historical relics related to the culture.

Mo Muong is a unique ancient culture of the Muong ethnic minority in Hoa Binh, which contains much of educational value for local communities.

According to folk cultural specialists, Mo Muong is classified into three categories: Mo Nghi Le (Mo Ceremony), Mo Ke Chuyen (Mo Telling Stories) and Mo Nhom, in which thay mo, or sorcerers, play an important role in forming the essence of the unique culture.

In special family events, such as building a new house or holding a funeral, the Muong people invite sorcerers to conduct the ceremony and read mo, or prayers, to the family.

Such prayers are highly educational to the Muong community, as their content advises people to avoid behaving incorrectly and promotes solidarity within the family, clans, community and the entire nation.

Besides prayers, sorcerers bring with them spiritual instruments that might be thousands of years old, most notably including bronze and stone axes belonging to the Dong Son Culture (20,000-12,000 BC).

However, according to Doan Anh Tuan, permanent member of the Viet Nam Federation of UNESCO Associations, Muong scripts have not yet been found. Also, some long mo or prayers can be read ceaselessly from 12 to 16 nights but have never been written down.

The preservation of the Muong language is, therefore, an urgent mission for Hoa Binh's authority. The province also needs a policy to preserve its precious intangible cultural heritage.

Hoa Binh Province's People Committee has received the sponsorship of the Viet Nam Federation of UNESCO Associations to preserve and promote Mo Muong heritage since May. — VNS

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