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Then singing festival wraps up in Ha Giang

The sixth national festival of the art of Then singing and Tinh gourd lute of the Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic groups concluded in the northernmost province of Ha Giang on May 14.

Nguyen Thi Hai Nhung, head of the Department of Traditional Culture under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the festival offered chances to promote the cultural heritage of Vietnamese ethnic groups to international friends and honour an art form of Tay, Nung and Thai groups.

During the event, Vietnam’s heritage and Then singing in particular made strong impressions on visitors, she affirmed.

The festival gathered more than 500 artisans from the 14 provinces nationwide. It was considered a rendezvous of Then melodies, dances and music from different ethnic regions.

Art troupes staged nearly 60 performances of Then singing accompanied by Tinh lute. These performances were deeply imbued with traditional cultural identities of Tay, Nung and Thai ethnicities.

At the closing ceremony, the organisers presented certificates of merit from the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to outstanding organisations and individuals who took part in the festival.

According to researchers, the word “Then” originates from “Thien”, which means sky or heaven. Then singing is regarded as a tune of the Gods.

The most important figures in a Then singing performance are “Ong Then” and “Ba Then” who can sing, dance and play a musical instrument at the same time during rituals while presenting offerings to the Gods, helping ask for good health, bumper crops, happiness and longevity.

In 2017, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism submitted a dossier to UNESCO to seek the recognition of Then sining as part of world intangible cultural heritage.