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French chef cooks’ books on Vietnamese dishes

French chef cooks' booksThe books, in English, introduced 12 traditional dishes and 12 contemporary dishes from Hanoi and northeastern region.

Didier Corlou, who has lived and worked in Vietnam for over 15 years, said that the books were compiled in a year.

He informed that the authors plan to study and write about dishes in the northwestern, central and southern regions in the coming time. Corlou expressed his hope that Vietnamese dishes would be known by numerous foreign people.

In 2004, Corlou’s book entitled “Vietnamese Gastronomy” won prizes of best book on gastronomy in western region and best book on Asian gastronomy.

The collection will be published in French and Vietnamese languages in the coming time.

Artists from 26 countries to perform during Hue Festival

They will perform modern and traditional music, dance, and stilt-walking.

France, Belgium, and Germany will send the largest number of troupes, while Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Senegal, and Norway will be featured for the first time at the event.

Also for the first time at the decade-old event, Vietnamese and foreign troupes will perform in districts and villages around Thua-Thien Hue Province.

This year’s festival will feature a re-enactment of the heaven-worshipping ritual practised by kings in olden times, an ao dai (traditional long dress) festival, palace evenings, variety shows titled Oriental Evening, re-creation of village markets, Buddhist music performances, and other events.

They will be mainly staged at the Forbidden City, An Dinh Palace, Ngo Mon (Imperial Gate) Square, and the pedestrians-only Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street among others.

Festivals in June 2010

Bo Sao Village Festival

Time: From the 15th to the 16th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Bo Sao Commune, Vinh Tuong District, Vinh Phuc Province.
Objects of worship: Dong Hai Dai Vuong.
Characteristics: Game of farming performance: villagers play in role of ploughman, raking people, rice seeds sowing people…

On the 16th day of the fifth lunar month, there is a procession of rice seeding on palanquin to Duong Temple, the tray of rice seeding is put on the cult of table to worship god, after that cultivate them.

Cuu Ap Village Festival

Time: The 10th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Lien Chau Commune, Yen Lac District, Vinh Phuc Province.
Objects of worship: Tam Giang Dai Vuong Tho Lenh.
Characteristics: Custom of vying for silk-worms while racing boat: the racing boats start from Chai Communal House to Xuan Vien Village in the other bank of the river then vying for silk-worms for good luck.

Yen Lap Festival (in the fourth lunar month)

Time: The 21st of the fourth lunar month.
Place: Yen Lap Commune, Vinh Tuong District, Vinh Phuc Province.
Objects of worship: The village’s tutelary god.
Characteristics: Banh giay feast, sword dance, buffalo fighting.

Thai Dao Communal House Festival

Time: The 19th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Thai Dao Communal House, Thai Dao Commune, Lang Giang District, Bac Giang Province.
Objects of worship: General Vu Thanh.
Characteristics: Traditional games: wrestling, swinging, human chess, Chinese chess, vying for ball.

Thanh Sam Festival

Time: The 2nd day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Kim Dong District, Hung Yen Province.
Objects of worship: Tutelary god Huong Thien, Dao Quang (the reign of Hung Due Vuong), who had merit of fighting Thuc troop.
Characteristics: The festival recalls the embodied day of tutelary god.

Van Khe Communal House Festival

Time: From the 17th to the 18th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Nghia Huong Commune, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi.
Objects of worship: Two village’s tutelary gods, sons of Lac Long Quan and Au Co.
Characteristics: Water procession, wrestling, chess playing, to tom diem playing, cheo performance.

Ham Long Pagoda Festival

Time: The 15th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Thuy Phuong Commune, Tu Liem District, Hanoi.
Objects of worship: The Buddha and Ly Ong Trong, who had merit of controlling floods on the Red River, was sent to go abroad as King’s envoy to help Tan King to fight against Hung No aggressors (221 BC).
Characteristics: Royal order procession, giving out report ceremony to worship Buddha and pray for the peace of Saint Chem and his wife’s souls.

Vinh Ninh Communal House Festival

Time: 13th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Vinh Quynh Commune, Thanh Tri District, Hanoi.
Objects of worship: Nang Tia, general of Hai Ba Trung.
Characteristics: Worshipping ancestor, traditional procession of god, mock battle performance.

Cau Dao Festival of the Cham

Time: The 18th day of the fifth lunar month or when the drought menaced.
Place: Poklong Garai and Po Rome Towers, Ninh Thuan Province.
Objects of worship: Agriculture Genie.
Characteristics: The sorcerer and local people go to tower to worship the Agriculture Genie praying for rain and pray gods for good crops. White buffalo is used as the offering to sacrifice to the god.

My Long Sea Worshipping Festival

Time: From 10th day to the 12th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place: Ba Chua Xu Temple, My Long Town, Cau Ngang District, Tra Vinh Province.
Objects of worship: Ba Chua Xu (the local goddess), Ca Ong (whale).
Characteristics: The festival of the fishermen in the southern coastal areas. The festival includes rites: welcoming the Lord Whale, procession of Ba Chua Xu, sacrifice to the Agriculture genie. Games: bag jumping (jumping in the bag), tug-of-war, fish catching.

Chau Phu Communal House Festival

Time: From the 9th to the 11th day of the fifth lunar month.
Place:Chau Phu A Ward, Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province.
Objects of worship: Nguyen Huu Canh (the nephew of Nguyen Trai).
Characteristics: Incense offering, ky yen ceremony and boi singing at night.

Poem Day at the Temple of Literature

This year’s National Poem Day also commemorates the 100th anniversary of Uncle Ho’s departure to seek the means for national salvation and the 70th anniversary of his return to lead the August Revolution.

To prepare for the day, Vietnam Writers’ Association sent a delegation to bring the soil from Sen Village, where Uncle Ho was born, and water from Lenin Streamline and Pac Po Cave back to the festival in Hanoi.

The event’s highlights included the calligraphy exhibition, entitled “Prison Diary”, by the South Korean and Chinese authors. Twenty poems of late President Ho Chi Minh were written in calligraphy.

Statues of writers and poets who had won Ho Chi Minh prizes were also displayed.

The event attracted many famous poets and 30 poet’s clubs of poem from across the country as well as many overseas Vietnamese.

It ended with the recital of 50 verses of poetry by 50 Hanoian girls. The balloons with the poems attached presented the wishes and the souls of Vietnamese poetry lovers.

Huong Pagoda Festival opens

The festival is the biggest and longest annual festival in Vietnam that lasts through three spring months, welcoming more than 1 million pilgrims and tourists each year.

On the first day of the festival, an art programme was held and an art exhibition opened at the pagoda’s museum.

Highlights of the festival will be a poetry night and a night of flower garlands and coloured lanterns in the Yen Stream. The poetry night will be held on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

The festival organising board and local authorities have invested in expanding the wharf and put a total of 4,600 boats into service during this year’s festival.

Sightseeing trips to pagodas, temples and caves are the main attractions at the Huong Pagoda Festival, as well as ceremonies to ask favours from Lord Buddha.

Built in the late 17th century, Huong Pagoda is located in My Duc District at a historic site that has a large number of pagodas, temples and caverns filled with marvelous kinds of stalactiles, about 60km from downtown Hanoi. The Huong Tich Cavern has the autograph of Lord Trinh Sam in 1770, describing the cavern as the most beautiful cave in the country.

Con Son-Kiep Bac Spring Festival gets underway

The festival kicked off with an incense offering ceremony to commemorate the 677th anniversary of the death of monk Huyen Quang, the third founder of the Truc Lam Buddhism sect at the Con Son – Kiep Bac historical site.

It was followed by various cultural and sporting events, including Quan Ho (love duets) and cheo (traditional opera) singing, wrestling, cock-fighting and performances of traditional arts.

The Con Son – Kiep Bac historical site is associated with the life and cause of National Hero Tran Quoc Tuan and great man of culture Nguyen Trai. It is one of the places where the Truc Lam Buddhism sect originated from during the Tran Dynasty.

Khanh Hoa will host Int’l yacht festival
The International Yacht Festival intended to take place in the south central province of Khanh Hoa this year has been rescheduled for mid-2013, announced the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Festival on August 7. Around 250 international and domestic yachts have registered to take part in the four-day event. They will be on display at an exhibition and join in a parade around the Hon Tre island in Nha Trang Bay. A series of activities, including a concert about Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, a fund raising ceremony to support Vietnamese fishermen, and other cultural and sporting events will be held as part of the festival.
Saint Giong Festival
The Saint Giong Festival has been evaluated by domestic and foreign researchers as the most unique among the 7,000 traditional folk festivals of Vietnam with special cultural and religious values. For this reason, the festival has been recognized by UNESCO as a world intangible cultural heritage of humanity. It is said that in the Dynasty of the 6th Hung King (about 1718-1631 BC), in Giong Village in present-day Phu Dong Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi there was a boy who could not speak or smile though he was three years old. Upon hearing the news that the country was in danger of being attacked by the En from the north, he quickly grew up, raised his shoulders and turned into a valiant man. He rode an iron horse and used an iron rod to defeat the invaders. After the victory, he went to the top of Soc Mountain (in present-day Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Hanoi) and flew into the heavens on his horse. With this sacred feat, people called him “Phu Dong Thien Vuong” and honoured him as one of the “four immortals” or “four genies” (Saint Tan Vien, Saint Giong, Saint Chu Dong Tu and Saint Lieu Hanh) who were worshiped by the Vietnamese people in the Red River delta. Nowadays, to commemorate his exploits, people in many places in the Red River delta region annually organize the Saint Giong festival with unique rites imbued with the ancient Viet’s cultural imprints. However, the biggest and most special are the Saint Giong festivals in Phu Dong Temple in Phu Dong Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi – his birthplace and in Soc Temple in Phu Linh Commune of Soc Son District, Hanoi - the place where he flew into the heavens. The ceremony of receiving a certificate recognizing the Saint Giong Festival as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Thousands of people attend the inauguration of Saint Giong statue on the peak of the Soc Mountain in Hanoi. A procession of water, which starts the Saint Giong Festival, has the meaning of taking water to clean weapons before the battles and pray for good weather and bumper crops. The Saint Giong festival was held many years ago but it officially became a national festival in the 11th century during the dynasty of King Ly Thai To – the founder of the Ly Dynasty. King Ly Thai To ordered the expansion and upgrade of Phu Dong Temple and created the regulations and forms to organize the Saint Giong festival. Unlike other folk festivals, apart from praying for good weather, bumper crops and commemorating saints and genies, the Saint Giong festival is considered an interesting “dramatic folk stage” because it attracts the participation of thousands of local people. They perform plays to reenact the battle of Saint Giong. Although the performances are symbolic, they convey a profound philosophy of life. They show the virtues, intelligence, faith and bravery of the general for the fate of the nation; the finial piety; the tolerance of the winner for his rival; and the aspiration for living in a peaceful and happy world. Over the years, the festival has had a great influence on the cultural and religious consciousness of the Vietnamese people in general and the people in the Red River delta in particular. Therefore, many relics as well as cultural and religious imprints related to Saint Giong are now seen in some rural areas. For example, there are many ancient architectural works with great value, such as communal houses, temples and shrines in the two communes of Phu Dong and Phu Linh. For many years the villagers in these two communes have annually organized the festival on January 6 and April 9 according to the lunar calendar to honour their national hero. The French researcher, G. Dumoutier, was so impressed by the value and jubilant atmosphere of the Saint Giong festival that he wrote in his book, “Revue de l’histoire des religions, Paris 1893”: “The Saint Giong festival, the most moving scene that we have ever seen in the north of Vietnam will live forever in the mind of each viewer. In our ancient Europe if people will feel proud of celebrating a historical event taking place two or three hundreds of years ago.” The most prominent value of the festival is that it has been preserved and handed down intact from generation to generation. Despite the ups and downs of history and influence by foreign cultures, the Saint Giong festival still keeps its unique features and is not commercialized like other festivals. According to researchers, the festival in Soc Temple seems to be a praying for crops festival seen in most spring festivals in the northern plain and the midland regions. The festival in Phu Dong Temple in Gia Lam, Hanoi is seen as a traditional cultural festival reenacting authentically the happenings of the battle of Saint Giong. Recently, on April 9, 2011 of the lunar calendar, villagers in Phu Dong Commune organized a Saint Giong festival. It was the first one since the festival was recognized by UNESCO. The festival reenacted many dramatic folk performances that helped viewers understand more about the glorious moments of history.
Doan Ngo Festival triggers higher fruit and flower prices
People are busy preparing for the Doan Ngo Festival, one of the most popular traditional festivals celebrated in the country, with lots of fruits, glutinous rice pudding, and tro cakes. Fruits prices have all risen during the festival Tet Doan Ngo is believed to have originated in ancient China. There are several theories about its origins. The best and most widely known legend relates to the death of Qu Yuan, a scholar and minister to the King of Chinese Chu Dynasty, in 278 BC. Being unable to advise his King in the war against the Qin, Qu Yuan threw himself into the river on 5 May of the Lunar Calendar. Chinese people hold an annual festival on this day to commemorate him. However, some Vietnamese scholars claim that the festival was first organized by Vietnamese people during the 10th century Le Dynasty. Wherever it came from, the Doan Ngo Festival has become an important festival. Local people often call it by another name, the “Pest Exterminating Festival”, for obvious reasons. The festival also occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month which is the beginning of summertime - a ripe time for pests and parasites. So this day is dedicated to getting rid of as many as possible. This year, Tet Doan Ngo falls on June 23. Tro cakes are an integral part of the Doan Ngo Festival Translated literally, Tet means festival, Doan means the start, and Ngo, the sun at noon. Therefore the festival will usually be held at noon. Although local people have cut some of the activities that used to be held on the day, the meaning and the main practices stay the same. To prepare for the day, people usually cook a jar of com ruou nep cam (a violet-coloured fermented glutinous rice pudding), and buy fruits and tro cakes (made from glutinous rice, green bean and coconut). They will have a special breakfast with these foods which are believed to help them get rid of the pests. A mobile tro cake stall Since yesterday afternoon, tro cakes have been sold at many markets in HCM City including Ba Chieu (Binh Thạnh District), Tan Dinh (District 1) and many street-side stalls. Although the price is a little bit higher than that of last year, ranging from VND 4,000 – 6,000 each, the demand has remained high. Doan Ngo Festival is also one of the best times for fruit and flower sellers. Flowers selling better today According to Mrs. Thanh, owner of a large fruit stall at Tan Dinh Market in HCM City the demand for fruits on this day is usually three or four times higher compared to normal days. The high demand for fruits has pushed prices up by 5-30% compared to normal.
Hanoi is the host of sports, tourism film festival
The sixth Vietnam International Federation of Cinema and Television Sports Festival, which feature over 140 documentaries, scientific films, television films and cartoons on the subject of sports and tourism, opened in Hanoi on July 4th. The four-day festival was a good opportunity to honour domestic and foreign sport and tourism films and television, to enhance international exchange in these areas, and to strengthen ties, friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding among countries and peoples. It is also a chance to show Vietnam as a beautiful and friendly sports and tourism destination. The festival received 25 domestic and 42 foreign film stations and television channels, including ESPN (US), Eurosport (France), Shootv Sport Economy ( Italy ) and Les Films Neptune (US). Some international agents who produce tourism and sports films from Cuba, Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Portugal also sent the works to the festival. 145 films are being screened on July 5-6 at 51 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi. Vietnam selected several films for this event, including ‘Duong Dua’ (The Race), ‘Le hoi dam trau’ (Buffalo Fighting), and ‘Le hoi cong chieng’ (Gong Festival). During the festival, international guests visit the Bat Trang ancient pottery village, Hanoi athlete training center, water puppetry./.
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