Thousands of participants at the Cướp Phết Festival, held in Phú Thọ Province, compete to catch the lucky ball. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Sơn
PHÚ THỌ Traditional festivals nationwide have been postponed or cancelled in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The move was made in a decree signed yesterday by Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trịnh Thị Thủy in response to the spread of the virus which originated in China and has infected five people in Viet Nam so far.
Not all festivals are cancelled and some will be held as scheduled, while others will be scaled back. Local People's Committees will have jurisdiction to decide if festivals in their areas will go ahead.
The document has been sent to cities and provinces to stop many festivals which are held annually in spring such as Phù Ninh Buffalo Fighting Festival and Cướp Phết (Compete for Lucky Ball) Festival in the northern province of Phú Thọ, according to Thủy.
“We are seriously following the direction of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on January 30 in suspending cultural and tourism activities,” she said.
“Festivals gather many people from different regions so it’s hard to control the epidemic meanwhile it has been developing complicatedly.”
Out of luck
"Cướp Phết", or Compete for Lucky Ball Festival, a traditional activity held annually in Hiền Quan Commune, Tam Nông District in the northern province of Phú Thọ during the Lunar New Year is one such event to be cancelled.
The proposal has been made by the cultural ministry, requesting Phú Thọ Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism report and consult the People’s Committee upon the cancellation of the festival.
The document sent to the department also demands that the ritual ceremony within the festival is conducted solemnly and according to traditions.
According to the cultural authority, the management and organisation of traditional festivals in Phú Thọ in recent years have witnessed positive changes, promoting traditional cultural values and meeting local demand for cultural and spiritual activities.
However, the 'Lucky Ball' event has led to disorder and has put attendees in danger.
Therefore, Phú Thọ Province’s department of culture asked for consultation on the plan to renew the management and organisation of Compete For Lucky Ball Festival on January 1.
The plan to organise the festival has not been much improved in terms of security, social order and safety compared with previous years, in addition to the deviations in terms of the festival’s content and value, according to the representative of the culture ministry.
The cultural authority therefore proposes the suspension of the competition during this year’s festival and the implementation of measures to tighten security and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Phú Thọ Province’s department of culture is also urged to promote the the origin, history and traditional cultural values of the festival, strengthen inspection and supervision, prevent and punish any violations, particularly acts to cause disorder and incite violence.
Annually held on the 12th and 13th day of the first lunar month (which falls on February 5-6 this year) in Tam Nông District, Phú Thọ Province, the Compete for Lucky Ball Festival, aims to pay tribute to female general Thiều Hoa and other generals and their army who assisted the Trưng Sisters to fight off northern invaders. It is also to educate young generations about patriotism and national pride.
The competition usually attracts thousands of participants, most of whom are young. The contestants must fight each other to win one of six balls by holding the ball away from the play area and avoiding others taking it.
The winner of the ball is believed to receive luck and success in the new year.
Poetry Day postponed
In other news, the Việt Nam Writers Association has decided to postpone the annual Poetry Day, which is normally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, due to the spread of coronavirus.
The organisers will announce the new date for the event when the threat posed by the new virus subsides.
On his Facebook account, poet Trần Đăng Khoa, deputy president of the association, said this is a necessary decision as the epidemic spreads more and more widely.
Khoa wrote that this year’s Poetry Day was set to welcome hundreds of visitors from all around the world to visit various destinations including Huế, Hạ Long Bay and Hà Nội.
The organisers’ decision aims to ensure safety for international guests, locals and poetry fans all around the country.
The Poetry Day was due to take place nationwide on Saturday, February 8. The organisers planned to write 50 meaningful verses on red silk cloth and have artists to perform poems on stage. — VNS