Festival spotlights Thai ethnic culture

Update: December, 29/2014 - 08:36
First Thai-me: Artists perform at an art show gathering more than 800 performers from eight provinces at the opening ceremony of the first-ever Thai Ethnic Group Festival in the northern province of Lai Chau on Saturday night. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha

LAI CHAU (VNS) — A mass art show by more than 800 artists and local performers has opened the first-ever Thai Ethnic Group Festival in northern province of Lai Chau.

The show, which consisted of three parts, showcased the spirituality, daily lives and traditional values of ethnic Thai people, who live in eight provinces in Viet Nam.

Audiences saw dancing and songs from White Thai women with broad-rim bamboo hats, Black Thai women with pieu embroidered scarves, and Thai men playing tinh tau (guitar-like instruments) and pi pap (bamboo flutes).

The show reflected various legends and ceremonies, like Le Xuong Dong (Farming Ceremony), Le Mung Com Moi (Good Harvest Celebration) and Le Mung Nha Moi (New House Celebration).

The three-day festival, ending today, gathered 2,000 artists, handicraft artisans and sport players from Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Son La, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces.

Since the opening ceremony, various folk games, costumed performances, art exchanges and cooking exhibitions have been taking place in the provincial capital.

Traditional Thai food has attracted the most visitors to the festival. Favourite dishes include dried pork, baked fish and salad made from buffalo skin.

Xoi tim (steamed purple sticky rice) is an especially popular dish. To make the rice purple, Thai people boil branches and leaves from khau cam trees to make the coloured water.

"Sticky rice raised in the mountains should be soaked in water for 6 to 8 hours before being steamed with purple-coloured water," said Lo Thi Kim, a resident of Muong So Commune, Phong Tho District of Lai Chau Province.

She said the sticky rice should be cooked in a clean container over fresh wood for maximum flavour. The cook should also turn the rice over regularly to make sure it is well-done.

Tong Thi Bang, a Thai woman from northern province of Son La, said on Saturday she was excited for people from other areas to teach her some new ways to cook Thai dishes.

Ha Van Muon, from central province of Thanh Hoa, bought some handicrafts as gifts for family members back home.

"I want to buy everything here and bring it home with me," he said.

Ha Thu Mai, a resident of Lai Chau City, said she hoped the festival would draw in more tourists.

"Other provinces can attract tourists, too, if they host festivals," she said.

Lai Chau is home to the most Thai people in Viet Nam – 400,000 people, or 37 per cent of the province's population.

As many as 150,000 tourists come to the province every year, 20,000 of whom are foreigners, according to local tourism authorities. — VNS