Sunday, March 16, 2014

» Home »

Hue - A City of Festivals

Today, talking about Hue City many people not only think of a World's Cultural Heritage Site with magnificent and splendid temples, shrines and tombs, but also have a memory of a renowned city of cultural festivals of Vietnam and the world as well.


After the initial success of the Vietnam - France Festival co-organised by Hue City and Codev City (France) in 1992, Thua Thien - Hue Province had an idea to organize a festival on a larger scale with the aim of creating an opportunity and favourable conditions to popularize Hue, a cultural and tourist city of Vietnam.

In October, 1998, the Vietnamese Government allowed Thua Thien - Hue Province to organize Hue Festival 2000. Since then, Hue Festival has become a great cultural event of national and international stature. It has been held seven times, attracting people from Vietnam and other places around the world.

Hue Festival 2012 with the theme “Cultural Heritage with Integration and Development – A Rendezvous of Historical Cities” was held from April 7-14, 2012. It featured many traditional cultural ceremonies, such as the Nam Giao Ritual, Imperial Palace Nights, Ao dai Festival and Oriental Nights.

In an ancient illusory atmosphere at the Hue National School Square, an Ao dai fashion show with the theme “Lotus in Painting” was held with the participation of 20 designers with 300 samples. The traditional Ao dai with delicate lotus patterns was presented by 150 professional and amateur models from all parts of the country. Among them there were Miss Vietnam 2008 Thuy Dung, Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han, and the former school girls of Dong Khanh School (Hue).

The "Peace for the Country" ceremony at Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Viet Cuong

The Nam Giao Offering Ritual, a court ceremony is reproduced at Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

The traditional music festival at Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

The imperial kite performance at Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Viet Cuong

A dragon dance is performed by Hue artists. Photo: Viet Cuong

Tourists visit the Inner Palace during Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Viet Cuong

Imperial Palace Nights were artistic programmes featuring the beauty of Dai Noi (Inner Palace) at night with the court activities from the past. The performance of Nha nhac (court music), Hue songs, imperial dances, games and gala dinners helped visitors learn about the culture of the Hue court in the past.

On the Nam Giao worshipping platform, the Nam Giao Offering Ritual - a court ceremony full of humanity, was also reproduced with all the ceremonies and rites of the past. The audience was very interested in the scene where the king chaired a ceremony of praying to Heaven and Earth for peace for the country and good harvests.

Besides the typical Hue festival activities, this year’s festival had a new feature. This was the theatre festival titled “Peace for the Country”. With an idea to honour the aspiration of the Vietnamese nation for a unified country, peaceful people and an affluent and happy life for the people, a programme of performing arts with festive identities was carefully staged. A large, splendid, floating stage was established in front of Thuong Bac Wharf on the Huong River. There were beautiful dragon boats around. Nearby, the Truong Tien Bridge with sparkling coloured lights reflected on the surface of the romantic river. Through their singing and dancing performances, thousands of actors, actresses and instrumentalists of the Hue Royal Traditional Theatre and many amateur actors and actresses told the stories of the old imperial city of Phu Xuan.

Besides the major ceremonies, many interesting artistic programmes were also held in different places in Hue City and the surrounding communes and villages. Over 700 artists of 25 artistic troupes throughout the country presented unique acts, attracting tens of thousands of viewers.


As suggested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Hue Festival 2012 was a special cultural activity within the framework of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation. So the event had greater importance and influence. This was reflected in the fact that over 40 wellknown artistic troupes from 27 countries around the world had registered to perform at Hue Festival 2012.

These artistic troupes were selected from international festivals with art-forms that had been recognized as the representatives of the great cultures. Some of them were well-known artistic Troupes, such as the Dongguk Troupe (South Korea), Okinawan Troupe (Japan), Piatnisky Troupe (Russia), Descendance Troupe of the Australian indigenes, and other artistic troupes from Cuba, Venezuela, the UK, France, Colombia, Mexico and the Philippines. They gathered at Hue City, creating an international rendezvous of artists with multiple colours.

An interesting combination between the Jazz Combo Box Band (France) and a member of the Co La Band (Vietnam). Photo: Viet Cuong

Exciting dances performed by Russian dancers. Photo: Viet Cuong

Mysterious dances of an Indian female dancer. Photo: Viet Cuong

Cuban artists perform at Hue Festival 2012. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Vietnamese artists introduce folk music instruments to foreign tourists. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

The Liceo Folkloric Dance Troup from the Philippines reproduces the community ceremony of the people on Sulu Island in the Philippines. Photo: Viet Cuong

Aboriginal artists from Australia perform on a street in Hue. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Venezuelan street artists perform on a street in Hue City. Photo: Viet Cuong

Mongolian and Filipino artists perform on the street. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

The harmony between musical instruments of Australian aborigines and gongs of artists in the Central Highlands, Vietnam.
Photo: Viet Cuong

During the festival, all streets and stages in Hue were full of a jubilant atmosphere with the performances by the foreign artists who also talked with the residents, visitors and members of other troupes. This cultural exchange created impressive images and left an unforgettable emotion. Notable were the impromptu coordination between the Tay Nguyen gong band and the drum band of the Australian indigenes at the foot of the ancient citadel near Ngo Mon and the concert of the two-chord fiddles of the Vietnamese instrumentalists and the electronic musical instruments of the Jazz Combo Box Band (France). These meetings not only created a new and jubilant atmosphere, but also showed the spirit of integration, interaction and development of the festival.

The street festival titled “Green Aspiration” was a fascinating event highlighting this spirit. On the streets, thousands of visitors and city residents watched and talked with the artists of the troupes from Australia, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, the Philippines, Mongolia and the host country.

The response of the visitors and local people during the nine days of the festival has contributed to the success of the event. No ceremonies and cultural activities were possible without the audience. The activities of this year’s festival even extended to Hue Central Hospital. Here, with their whole hearts, the international artists entertained the patients with singing, wishing to share their pain.

It was the first time Alekxandra Andrevna Perminankova led the Russian Piatnisky Troupe to participate in Hue festival. She was amazed with the admiration of the Vietnamese people for the artistic programmes. At the end of the last night she said with emotion: “I’d like to send my deep love to Hue in particular and Vietnam in general. I do not say farewell and surely I will meet you again at the next festival.”

Now talking about Hue, we not only mention a cultural heritage city of the world but also think of the Ngu Mountain, the Huong River, palaces and graves. The city has become a rendezvous of friends from all continents. At the festival, the beauty of the cultural features of each country is shown and honoured, creating opportunities for cooperation, friendship and co-construction of a peaceful and prosperous world on the basis of multi-coloured cultures.
Story: Viet Cuong - Photos: Viet Cuong - Tran Thanh Giang

No comments :

Post a Comment