Phu Yen welcomes UNESCO status for Bai Choi singing
Updated : Monday, May 21, 2018 2:50 PM (GMT+0700)

Aceremony was held in Tuy Hoa city, the south central province of Phu Yen, onMay 20 to receive a certificate from UNESCO recognising Bai Choi singing, apopular folklore style of singing in central Vietnam, as an Intangible CulturalHeritage of Humanity.

At the ceremony held in Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen province on May 20 to receive
a certificate from UNESCO recognising Bai Choi singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage
of Humanity - Photo: VNA

The ceremony featured aparade with the UNESCO certificate held up high and performances of Bai Choisinging, attracting tens of thousands of locals and visitors.

Earlier, the recognition ofBai Choi singing was made during the 12th session of the UNESCOInter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible CulturalHeritage in Jeju, the Republic of Korea (RoK), on December 7, 2017.

The folk singing genre ispopular in the central provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue,Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, and Da Nang city.

Bai choi is often seen atlocal spring festivals and resembles a game, using playing cards and villagehuts.

The stage for Bai choiperformances encompasses nine cottages, each containing five or six ‘players’.One of the cottages, the central house, contains a troupe of musicians andinstruments. A deck of playing cards is split in half, with one stackdistributed amongst the players, and the other placed in the central house. Thecards are stuck onto bamboo poles and erected outside the cottages.

The game singer delivers aflag to each cottage, all the while singing Bai choi, and then draws a cardfrom the central house. Whoever holds the card closest in value to the game singer’scard wins.

The Bai choi songs are aboutfestivals, daily life and work, and are accompanied by musical instruments.

The game and songs weredeveloped by Mandarin Dao Duy Tu (1572-1634) to help locals protect theircrops.

According to the Inter-governmentalCommittee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Bai Choi isan important cultural activity in Vietnamese villages and communes, meeting thedemand for entertainment and arts of the community.

Bai Choi songs are morallessons, demonstrating patriotism, connectivity in the community and livingexperience of people.

The Ministry of Culture,Sports and Tourism recognised Bai Choi as national intangible cultural heritageduring 2014-2016.

Apart from Bai Choi, theUNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanityincludes other 11 Vietnamese heritage – the traditional practice of “Tho MauTam Phu” (Worship of Mother Goddesses), tug-of-war game, which is also playedin Cambodia, the RoK and the Philippines, Nghe Tinh province’s Vi-Giam folksinging, Don ca tai tu (amateur singing in southern Vietnam), Hung King worshipritual, Xoan singing of Phu Tho province, Giong festival and Soc temples inHanoi, Ca Tru (ceremonial singing), Bac Ninh province’s Quan ho (love duetsinging), the space of Gong culture in the Central Highlands and Hue's royalcourt music.


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