Viet Nam News
THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — With lights, dance, music and fireworks, the biennial Huế Festival opened yesterday evening, showcasing a variety of cultural and craft shows performed by artists and artisans from Vietnamese localities and other countries.
Speaking at this year’s festival opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh said the celebration was a grand cultural event that lures the attention of both Vietnamese and foreigners.
“The Huế Festival is a symbol of the global integration of the country’s cultural side. It helps to connect other countries and organizations with Việt Nam in mutual attempts to enhance cultural cooperation,” the Deputy PM said.
He said the festival was expected to bring the nation and people from around the world closer together for the purpose of a common peace, stability and prosperity.
Minh also appraised the value of the intangible and tangible heritage items of Huế, saying they reflect the high skill and mental powers of their Vietnamese ancestors. He expressed high hopes for the success of the event.
This year’s festival gathered 34 art troupes representing 17 countries and territories for the six-day event. The shows includes music programmes by artists from Australia, Denmark, France, Poland, the UK and the US.
Dance groups from Chile, Israel, Korea, Russia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka will take to the stage. Traditional art forms will be on show from China, Colombia, Mexico and Mongolia, together with performances by other artists from Russia and Belgium.
Like the other eight events held over the last 16 years, the key stages are set inside the former Imperial Forbidden City, the An Dinh Palace and Quoc Hoc Pavilion square.
According to the organizers, key shows include a fashion show of ao dai, a gala dinner, the ‘Royal Palace at night’, a re-enactment of rituals at a local holy platform, and a Buddhist show named ‘Celebration of Universal Illumination’.
These events are expected to be favoured by visitors due to the tasty food on offer at the gala dinner and the traditional nature of the religious rituals. The ao dai show is expected to be especially popular thanks to the charming clothes and beauty of the performers.
The festival will also bring the city alive outside of the staged performances with grand street parades, kite festivals and children’s fiestas.
The street parades are expected to be the most joyful and will show the great solidarity among the festival’s shows. It involves tens of troupes from many different countries dressed in their traditional, colourful costumes. They will perform skilful tricks while moving around Huế City’s main streets on May 1st and 3rd.
From April 29 to May 3, this year’s kite festival will be held in the park in front of the Imperial City. Hundreds of kites in the shape of dragons, butterflies, phoenixes and other creations will fill up the sunny sky. The kite festival will showcase the skilful Vietnamese craft and prompt childhood memories among the audience.
Hundreds of children will gather for the three-day fiesta in the Children’s Park to compete in painting, making montages with pieces of paper, join in a costume festival and folk singing. This year’s festival occurs during the long national holiday so children will get even more joy from these activities.
This year’s festival will also attract thousands of scientists and experts for medical and cuisine conferences. There will be numerous sideline events as well.
The biggest side event, the Hue Gastronomy Festival, opened on April 28 and will go on until May 5, offering specialities from different localities around the country and including food stands from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Visitors will get a chance to view every single step of the meal’s preparation and taste the food straight after. The first guests who arrived at the gastronomy festival expressed their disappointment that the international food stands were placed so far from the entrance and did not have enough light.
The number of dishes, especially at the popular Thai food stand, was less than at previous festivals. — VNS