|A master at work in his tent. The letter reads "Happiness", one of the popular letters to be given during the New Year celebration. When hung upside down the letter means "Happiness comes". — Photo VNS Hoang Anh
HA NOI (VNS) — The Calligraphy Writing Festival 2016, which is being held at the Lake of Literature in Ha Noi has attracted a large number of visitors including many youngsters.
Spacious tents were erected around the circle-shaped lake, which mirrors the shape of an ink pot, allowing both, master calligraphers to showcase their style with decorations and visitors to admire the masters' works.
Calligrapher Pham Van Khoi, 75, said he fell in love with calligraphy at the age of 50. He said he managed to master the art mainly by self-studying.
For the last 25 years, he has practiced calligraphy for 2 to 3 hours every day, still aiming at improving his writing skills.
Khoi said he is proud of Nom calligraphy, citing the origin of the art as the effort of Vietnamese forefathers to retain their roots and to resist strong Chinese cultural influences.
Calligrapher Le Chi Trung said this is the third year he was participating in the festival. Trung was happy with decision of the organisers to move all the tents inside the Lake of Literature this year,
noting the festival was better organised this way compared to before when they had to stay on the sidewalks around the Temple of Literature under poorly constructed tents.
For the capital's youngsters, the festival offers an opportunity to learn about one of the oldest and most revered cultural arts of the country.
Tran Manh Hung, a student from the Ha Noi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said he learnt a lot about calligraphy at the festival on top of being able to enjoy the tranquil and warm air of spring.
"I feel connected to the past that our forefathers built just being around the tents. Just watching these masters at work makes me feel like I am in the past, where humans lived together in harmony and always strove to better themselves," he said.
Nguyen Thi Mai Trang, a student from the Ha Noi University, said this was the first time she had visited the festival. She said that she was very impressed with the calligraphy tents and enjoyed listing to the masters'' discussion of old Vietnamese proverbs and poetry.
As it is the beginning of a new year, we all hope for the best to come to our friends and families. The ancient art of calligraphy, beautifully displayed on the crimson-red paper, conveys just that, the air of spring and warmth of human heart in every Vietnamese house during the Lunar New Year.
The festival will last until February 15. — VNS