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Bai Choi singing receives UNESCO's certificate of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Released at: 17:23, 07/05/2018

Bai Choi singing receives UNESCO's certificate of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Photo: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Bai Choi folk singing was recently recognized by UNESCO and many prominent figures attended the ceremony.

by Le Diem

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, leaders of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, provincial People’s Committees in the central region, and representatives of UNESCO Vietnam attended the ceremony where Bai Choi singing was recognized as a cultural heritage of humanity.

Speaking at the ceremony, the PM stressed that the certificate, which was recognized by international experts, will help honor and promote the value ​​of the art of Bai Choi in Central Vietnam to domestic and international visitors. It will also raise the awareness of preserving and promoting the values ​​of the cultural heritage, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of the central provinces.

For the occasion, 400 artisans and artists from nine central provinces where Bai Choi singing is popular joined together in a performance to describe the history and development of the art.

Under the framework of the ceremony, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also launched a National Action Program to protect and promote the values ​​of the art of Bai Choi in Central Vietnam as an intangible cultural heritage.

Bai Choi is a diverse art form that combines music, poetry, stage acting, painting and literature, and expresses the life, mind and emotions of the people of Central Vietnam. Bai Choi, which is often organized at local spring festivals, resembles a game and uses playing cards (Bai) and village huts (Choi). Bai Choi songs are moral lessons, demonstrating patriotism, the community, and life experiences. The art is an important cultural activity in Vietnamese villages and communes, and meets the demand for entertainment and arts of the community. It’s popular in the central provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, and the city of Da Nang. 

On December 7, 2017, the recognition of Bai Choi singing was announced during the 12th session of the UNESCO Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Jeju, the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Along with Bai Choi, the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity also includes 11 other Vietnamese heritages namely the traditional practice of Tho Mau Tam Phu (Worship of Mother Goddesses), tug-of-war, Vi-Giam folk singing in Nghe Tinh province, Don Ca Tai Tu (amateur singing) in southern Vietnam, the Hung King worship ritual, Xoan singing of Phu Tho province, the Giong festival and Soc temples in Hanoi, Ca Tru (ceremonial singing), Quan Ho (love duet singing) in Bac Ninh province, the space of Gong culture in the Central Highlands and royal court music in Hue.

With 12 intangible cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO, Vietnam now ranks eighth out of 177 member nations of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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