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The quest to preserve 'bóng rỗi'

Update: May, 24/2017 - 20:00
Festive fun: A performance of bóng rỗi by a HCM City troupe during the Bóng Rỗi Festival in Đồng Nai Province on May 22. Photo:
Viet Nam News

ĐỒNG NAI – Bóng rỗi, a dance and singing art form performed at mother goddess worship rituals in southern Việt Nam, should be preserved, experts said at a conference on the arts held in Đồng Nai Province on May 22-23.

Bóng rỗi plays an important role in traditional Vietnamese culture and should be honoured,” said Associate Professor Huỳnh Văn Tới, head of the Đồng Nai Traditional Literature and Arts Association, at the event.

The event was organised by the association and the province’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department. Nearly 100 cultural experts and researchers from universities and cultural organisations across the country took part in the conference

Associate Professor Phan Thị Yến Tuyết of the HCM City Social Sciences and Humanities said that bóng rỗi singing and dance appeared in the southern region in the 19th century.

The art is always performed at rituals worshipping mother goddesses in southern provinces, such as Linh Sơn Thánh Mẫu (Mother Goddess of the Mountain) Festival on Bà Đen Mountain in Tây Ninh Province, and Vía Bà Ngũ Hành Festival worshipping Ngũ Hành Nương Nương (Mother Goddess of Five Elements) in Long An Province.

Bóng rỗi singing is performed at the start of the rituals. The songs invite the goddesses and ancestors to attend the festival.

A dance follows in which performers in costumes and makeup hold trays with offerings on their heads. 

Nguyễn Công Hoan, a lecturer at the HCM City-based University of Finance and Marketing, said that bóng rỗi could be performed as part of a tourism activity.

“Performing bóng rỗi in front of tourists would be the best way to promote the art,” he said.

Provincial tourism authorities, he said, should open tours of bóng rỗi at mother goddess temples, such as Bà Thiên Hậu Temple in Bình Dương Province and Bà Chúa Xứ Temple in Châu Đốc in An Giang Province.

Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt of the association said that it was necessary to offer teaching and training of bóng rỗi to young generations.

She suggested organising more bóng rỗi festivals and contests to offer artisans and performers more opportunities to perform on big stages.

As part of the arts promotion, the Đồng Nai Province’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department hosted a bóng rỗi festival on May 22.

The festival attracted 50 performers from eight arts troupes from HCM City and the provinces of Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Bến Tre, Long An and Tiền Giang.  – VNS



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