Local people perform xòe dance, which is significant to Thái people, at the Mường Lò festival last year. Photo courtesy of Lê Hải Yến
HÀ NỘI As many as 5,000 people will perform xòe, a traditional dance of Thái ethnicity people, to set a Guinness World Record, at the opening ceremony of Mường Lò Culture and Tourism Festival on September 20 in the northern mountainous province of Yên Bái.
A representative of the Guinness World Records will attend the festival to recognise this performance, Lê Hải Yến, director of the ceremony, said during a press conference yesterday in Hà Nội.
The festival is held annually to introduce beautiful landscapes, culture and promote tourism in the province.
This year the highlight of the five-day festival is the xòe dance, during which people hold hands and perform six traditional acts including welcoming, clapping hands, performing in a group of four, moving back and forth, waving scarves and offering wine.
They will shape a circle symbolising solidarity, a pattern on brocade, terraced fields and orchid flowers, all highlights of the northern region.
“During the festival in 2013, we set a Vietnamese record with a xòe dance performed by 2,013 people,” Yến said.
“This year we try to make something bigger as authorities in the northern mountainous provinces are working on a dossier for recognising xòe dance as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of humanity. During the process of preparing for the festival, we have received much support from the local authorities and people, so we decided to set a new record.”
When Yến contacted Guinness World Records, her ambition was encouraged as the organisation also wants to honour traditional values and cultural heritage.
“However, they sent me many criteria and regulations, for example 5,000 participants have to perform the dance at the same time and venue, in the same kind of costumes. Their representatives will attend and count carefully with electronic devices,” Yến said
She said it's a big challenge, but the people’s support motivated her.
“This will be the first time a folk dance of Việt Nam is recognised by Guinness World Records. All of the people are proud and eager for it. It’s not difficult to find 5,000 people because all locals know how to dance and volunteer to join."
“Xòe is a unique type of traditional dance of ethnic Thái communities in the northern region of Việt Nam,” said folk artisan Lò Văn Biến, who has preserved much cultural heritage of the Thái and has composed songs for the Mường Lò festival.
“It depicts the daily lives of Thái people and shows their wish for a peaceful and prosperous life. It has a strong attachment that and plays a significant role in our lives. There is no border between classes, ages and genders. When music starts, all people dance together hand in hand.”
Dương Văn Tiến, deputy head of the provincial People’s Committee, agreed.
“For the people, xòe dance is very popular, it’s performed in all festive activities. People have developed, protected and handed down through generations over hundreds of years.
“Setting a record xòe dance is very meaningful because it may be a factor for UNESCO to consider recognising it as world intangible heritage,” Tiến said.
He said he expected the festival will attract 750,000 visitors. VNS