Safeguard and enhance the culture of ethnic groups

Reconstruction of a ceremony in honor of the trade of weaving brocades of the Tà Ôi ethnic group. Photo: VNA/CVN

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the preservation and promotion of ethnic minority culture has helped enhance people’s patriotism and pride.

Ethnic minorities constitute 14.7% of the population of Vietnam. They live in six socio-economic zones: the mid and upper northern regions, the Red River Delta, the central northern and coastal regions, the central highlands, the southeast, and the Mekong Delta. Each ethnic group has its own language and its own culture.

In recent years, the Party and the state have paid special attention to the development of ethnic minorities and mountainous regions. His life has improved a lot. In addition to ensuring the socioeconomic development of these areas, the State has taken measures to encourage them to perpetuate their beautiful traditions.

The Ministry, in coordination with the local authorities, periodically organizes celebrations (Cultural Days or festivals) aimed at highlighting the cultural characteristics of the 54 ethnic groups.

During these events multiple activities are organized: festivals and customs are recreated, culinary traditions are presented, cultural and tourist products are exhibited, popular games, etc. More than 80 traditional festivals of ethnic groups such as the Muong, the Thai, the Tày, the Co Tu, the H’mông, the Nùng, the Dao, the Bana, the Chut and the Khmer have been revitalized and are organized annually.

35 villages of 26 different minorities have been helped to preserve their traditional cultural heritage, including through folk song and dance festivals, handicrafts, etc.

Of the 13 Vietnamese intangible cultural heritages classified by UNESCO, three belong to ethnic minorities, reports Lê Thi Thu Hiên, head of the Department of Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

In addition, 145 of the 288 national intangible cultural heritages belong to ethnic minorities.

Radio and television broadcasts in ethnic minority languages ​​are increasing. Currently, 67 radio and television stations, about 100 newspapers and more than 200 electronic news pages are engaged in extensive propaganda on ethnic issues.

The preservation challenge ahead

The culture of ethnic minorities is an important part of the national culture. However, it is currently facing a trend of change. Therefore, it is necessary to have new methods to preserve this treasure.

Two Tà Ôi women mastering the art of embroidery. Photo: VNA/CVN

According to Hoàng Quôc Khanh, head of the People’s Council of the northern province of Lai Châu, in charge of legislation, many indigenous inhabitants no longer know the songs and dances of their ethnic group. The risk of traditional music or language disappearing is great. Some ethnic groups no longer speak their mother tongue. Traditional festivals and beautiful customs sometimes remain only in the memory of the elders and patriarchs.

Among the elements of ethnic culture, language is the unique and most valuable characteristic of each ethnic group. Losing the language entails the disappearance of art, culture, customs…“, indicates Pham Minh Quân, a cultural researcher. Several solutions have been proposed with the aim of safeguarding ethnic cultures in all their richness.

setting 4Y industrial Revolution

In the national list of 288 intangible cultural heritages, those of minorities occupy half. A colossal work has thus been done to digitize them and give them a second existence in sounds and images, which is not limited by time, places or languages, says Nguyên Quang Duc, head of the Department in charge of the localities Noh1 of the Government Ethnic Affairs Commission.

Digitization is a necessary step before the translation of heritage-related documents into foreign languages. This translation is intended for both the Vietnamese diaspora and foreign friends, to whom we wish to account for the richness of Vietnam’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.“, he explains.

The Dr. Luu Trân Tiêu, president of the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Association, called for more training for culture officials who must have a good understanding of the customs and traditions of ethnic groups. These agents in charge of culture, who must also have the necessary knowledge and skills to adapt to the 4Y industrial Revolution. “It is important to digitize all data and files related to ethnic culture. These data should be made publicly available for research and promotional activities.“, he underlines.

Cultural experts also agree on the decisive role of communities in preserving cultural heritage and on the fact that patriarchs, village elders, artisans and shamans are at the origin of important cultural decisions of the community. .

In my opinion, instead of preserving this or that cultural heritage as it is, we must ensure that it can evolve properly. All heritage must be able to exist within the community that created it, without becoming an obstacle to its development.“, says Nguyên Thi Thanh Vân, a professor at Hanoi University of Culture.

According to Trinh Thi Thuy, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, it is first necessary to make the inhabitants aware of the need to preserve them. It is important to strengthen the pride of young people in the culture of their ethnic group, which allows for better conservation. “Without the community from which this heritage comes, it will be difficult to carry out this conservation work.“, he concludes.

Currently, the missions of preservation and promotion of ethnic cultures are aimed at both enhancing the intrinsic strength of the nation and meeting the growing demand of the country’s inhabitants and foreign tourists to discover the country’s immense cultural treasure.

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