Xoan Singing Becomes a World Heritage

At the 6th meeting of UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Bali, Indonesia, the dossier of Xoan singing in Phu Tho Province, Vietnam was officially recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection by UNESCO.

According to the researchers, Xoan singing is ceremonial folk singing, performed with the intention of worshipping the village’s tutelary. It is related to the harvest festival of the local people. In relation to the old custom, when spring comes, Xoan singing groups in Phu Tho often have a Xoan performance at the village’s communal house or shrine and a Hung Kings’ Temple on January 5 of the lunar year (on Tet Holiday).

The origin of Xoan singing is attached to legends during the Hung King Dynasty (over 2,000 years BC). The original Xoan singing groups mostly came from villages in the central area of Van Lang nation (present-day Viet Tri City – Phu Tho Province). Therefore, Xoan singing includes many ancient cultural features of the first period of the founding of the nation.

The profile of Xoan singing of Vietnam is highly appreciated by UNESCO because it meets important demands and criteria, such as cultural value, sense of community in creativeness and the handing down from generation to generation. It is the strong vitality of this artistic medium and the pledge of the people and the authorities that will help preserve it in the future.


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