Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — President Trần Đại Quang offered incense and released birds at a spring ceremony held in the ancient Thăng Long Imperial Citadel in Hà Nội on Sunday.
The incense offering commemorates national ancestors and prays for the country’s prosperity. Other traditional rituals at the event included a procession staged by over 300 people, a dragon dance, a drum performance, a water puppet show, and a folk music performance.
In the past, the early spring ceremony was held by kings to pay tribute to ancestors and pray for peace and happiness for the nation, according to Nguyễn Viết Chức, director of the Thăng Long Culture Research Institute. The ceremony has been revived in recent years to honour the tradition of the former royal capital.
The Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long was built in the 11th century during the Ly dynasty to mark the independence of Đại Việt, a former name of Việt Nam. The central sector of the citadel was listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in July 2010.
Earlier, on Saturday, President Quang joined the Spring Festival at the Việt Nam Nationalities Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in the capital, extending his good wishes for the New Lunar Year to all ethnic groups across the country.
Addressing the event, the President said that after 30 years of renewal, "important progress has been made in improving the living conditions of ethnic minority people, while the solidarity among the groups has been reinforced." At the same time, he added, "traditional cultures have been respected, preserved and promoted".
The State leader held that the festival is a chance for all ethnic groups to meet and introduce their traditions, as well as achievements in protecting and developing their cultural values.
He also lauded the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for its efforts in effectively managing the Việt Nam Village, making it a common home of the country’s 54 ethnic groups.
The village welcomed thousands of ethnic representatives and more than 500,000 tourists in 2016, along with hosting dozens of festivals and other events, contributing to preserving and promoting traditional values, he said.
The festival drew overseas Vietnamese from more than 20 countries and about 200 delegates representing 16 ethnic groups from 13 localities. During the event, the President joined ném còn -- a traditional game and a ritual of the Thai people from Điện Biên Province -- to pray for bumper crops, peace and health. —VNA