Đồng Tháp revives mat night market to attract tourists

June 10, 2024 - 08:23
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp has revived and developed the night market of the Định Yên sedge mat weaving village, also known as the “ghost” market, as a unique tourism product to lure tourists.
CRAFT VILLAGE - The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp recreates the night market of the Định Yên sedge mat weaving village to create a unique tourism product for tourists. VNA/VNS Photos Nguyễn Văn Trí

ĐỒNG THÁP – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp has revived and developed the night market of the Định Yên sedge mat weaving village, also known as the “ghost” market, as a unique tourism product to lure tourists.

Located next to the Hậu River, the Định Yên mat village in Lấp Vò District, which emerged in the 1920s, was famous for beautiful handmade mats.

It was also popular for the “ghost” market, which was held only two hours at night under the light of oil lamps and candles.

In the past, the market was a place for traders to pick up hundreds of mats and then transport them everywhere by boat. But today it no longer exists.

The sedge mat weaving of Định Yên Commune was recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2013.

Đồng Tháp and relevant authorities have tried for years to revive the night market to maintain and promote local cultural values and traditional crafts to local people and domestic and foreign visitors.

In September 2023, the Định Yên Community Tourism Management Board launched a pilot programme recreating the images of mat trading between traders and local sellers at the “ghost” market of Định Yên, which caught the attention of local people and visitors.

Since April, the programme has been officially launched every 14th and 17th day of lunar months during 2024.

According to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the programme will be a part of a tour connecting Sa Đéc Flower Village in Sa Đéc City, Định Yên Mat Village, Tân Thuận Đông Countryside Market in Cao Lãnh City, and the Óc Eo Culture Relic in Tháp Mười District.

The tour aims to promote local historical and cultural values ​​and traditional crafts, contributing to tourism development.

MAT MAKING - A tourist learns to make a mat with artisans of the Định Yên village. VNA/VNS

In addition, when visiting the Định Yên mat village, visitors can learn about mat weaving with local people, enjoy the specialties of Lấp Vò, and have a short tour of the outdoor studio for the movie Lật Mặt: Tấm Vé Định Mệnh (Face-off: The Ticket of Destiny) by film producer and director Lý Hải.

The film features a group of six young men who have known each other since they were little. One day, they bought a lottery ticket and gave it to their friend An to keep, promising to split the money evenly if they won. After An’s tragic death in an accident, the group members chase one another for the winning ticket.

Hải spent billions of đồng restoring traditional dyebaths, drying yards, and reviving the night market of the village to introduce audiences to how the village looked in the past.

The movie was released in April 2023 and raked in VNĐ300 billion (US$11.7 million).

Hải from Tiền Giang Province said: “As a native of the Mekong Delta, I want to introduce the beauty and traditional crafts of the region to audiences. I hope my film contributes to the efforts of local authorities and the community to promote Định Yên mat village and its cultural value to the public.”

Hải was a well-known singer in the 1990s for his pop songs, but has achieved great success with the series Lật Mặt, which consists of seven movies, earning total revenue of VNĐ1.239 trillion (US$48.3 million).

According to the management board, in the future, the district will set up more activities such as bài chòi (a traditional game combining folklore singing and lottery picks), tài tử music performances and folk games to serve audiences.

The district will invest in upgrading facilities and landscapes at the market, and strengthen the promotion of the destination via social media and the internet. – VNS