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Archive for the ‘Vietnam Culture’ Category

Khoai cake enters Vietnam Guinness book

In Vietnam Culture on March 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Khoai cake enters Vietnam Guinness book

QĐND – Monday, March 22, 2010, 20:38 (GMT+7)

The khoai cake (plain rice flan) which was made on March 20 in the central city of Thua Thien – Hue has been recognised as the largest of its kind by the Vietnam Guinness Records.

The cake was jointly made by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Thua Thien-Hue Tourism Association and Ancient-Hue Bep lua club. It has a diameter of 3 metres, a circumference of 9.42 metres and the weight of 200kg.

Khoai cake is the traditional specialty of Hue city as well as the favourite dish of foreign tourists. Everyone can not miss Thuong Tu gate (in the southeast of Hue city) or Dinh Tien Hoang street to taste khoai cake whose name always stipulate the attraction and the curiosity of the diners.

The cake was made on the occasion that the Thua Thien-Hue’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the tourism year of 2010 in the province.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Raging. Roosters

In Vietnam Culture on March 8, 2010 at 2:39 am

Raging. Roosters

QĐND – Saturday, March 06, 2010, 20:38 (GMT+7)

Betting on cock fights is a hugely popular pastime for many Vietnamese men who are fond of a flutter.

Just after Tet a small cluster of men gathers on a newly built road by West Lake. Passers-by slow down wondering if there might have been an accident. But the men are huddled around a pair of cockerels. Bets have been wagered and the men shout with eager joy as the two fighting roosters close in on each other. When one of the birds springs into the air and attacks the other’s head the men scream with relish.

When I ask how long the cockerels have been fighting somebody mutters “about three hours”. One of the roosters is bleeding and flustered. The owner jumps in to try and spur the wounded beast on. But it starts to run around and tries to escape the ring. Under the rules if a rooster leaves the ring twice and does not return, it forfeits the match. The owner fails to settle his rooster and the bout is declared to be over.

Traditional pastime     

Cock fighting is a something of a traditional pastime in Vietnam. The official “cock fighting season” lasts from lunar December to lunar April of the lunar month. During Tet you will find it increasingly common. There are even festivals in some villages.

As it is such a popular form of entertainment, raising cockerels is a business investment. But it takes time. A cockerel will become so acquainted with its owner that only the owner will be able to hold him.

Tran Van Quyet is a 30-year old employee of a computer trading company. But his real passion is cock fighting.

“I began raising fighting cocks when I was 10 years old. I love the violence of the games, caring for the cockerels and the feeling when my one wins,” says Quyet, who owns 10 fighting cockerels.

After his cockerel emerges from the ring triumphant, Quyet rolls up his sleeves and puts a piece of cloth into a bowl of water mixed with alcohol and ground ginger. He then carefully massages the rooster. The august cockerel cranes his long neck to enjoy this special attention.

Quyet claims that to produce a good fighting rooster, he must carefully select a young chick and separate it from the hens. He will prepare a special diet for the cockerel and use massage oil that will help it develop thick, tough skin.

“A rooster will be able to fight by the time its 10 months old,” he says. There are three main species used for fighting which are referred to as “sacred cockerels” or “combat cockerels” in Vietnamese. Black cockerels with a red comb and a long neck are said to be full of stamina and will fight to the bitter end. White cocks with ivory-coloured feet and round yellow eyes are notoriously hot-tempered and perform “lightning strikes”.

Meanwhile, cockerels that are have black, yellow, brown, red and dark blue feathers are said to be flexible but cowardly if losing a fight. Before a fight the owners will compare each rooster’s size, weight and combat achievements. If one has longer spurs, the rival is allowed to wear artificial spurs to make it a fair fight. After the owners come to an agreement, the roosters will be brought into the ring and held until the signal is given to start the fight.

There are rounds lasting from 10 to 15 minutes. Like a cagey boxer, cockerels will often feint lunges to gauge their foes’s reactions before engaging. Cockfighting has always been related to gambling but in a more innocent bygone era, the defeated owner would fork out money but the owner would probably insist on treating him to a boozy lunch. Nowadays, many owners are rather sneaky.

Luu The Hai, a 56-year old from Hanoi’s Nghia Tan district, claims that some owners will tie a small sharp blade to the cockerel’s legs. Or even more cunningly, the owner will bet against his own cockerel and try to ensure that it loses.

“Owners feed their cock with a certain kind of food a few hours before the fight and massage it in such a way that it looks perfectly healthy but is unable to fight at full strength,” Hai says.

Source: VietNamNet/Timeout

Source: QDND

Journey through history with antique sword

In Vietnam Culture on February 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

Journey through history with antique sword

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

An exhibition of 99 ancient swords recently opened in Hanoi, offering visitors a chance to learn more about history’s most popular weapon.

The swords were selected from the private 300-sword collection owned by collector Duong Phu Hien.

Four generations of Hien’s family have maintained and added to the collection. “By collecting and preserving ancient Vietnamese artefacts, especially those relating to the defence of our nation, every member of my family has demonstrated their love for the country,” Hien said.

The exhibition features a large array of swords, including 37 that were made in Vietnam. The others came from different countries, including China, Japan, and the UK.

Each scabbard is decorated with unique and sophisticated patterns, including typical ancient royal Vietnamese designs like pine trees, daisies, bamboo, apricots and dragons.

Hien said almost all of the Vietnamese swords in his collection date from three centuries ago.

The collector was visibly filled with pride when he talked about one of his rare Samurai sword, which is considered as one of the “stars” of the exhibition. The 2.02m-long and 18kg sword is the biggest and longest in his collection.

According to Hien, the 18 th century sword was made out of very special steel. “A very complicated refining technique was necessary to create such a long sword. For this reason, long swords were very rare,” he said.

The valuable collection also includes a bayonet with a solid golden handle, two 17 th -century royal swords covered with Han Chinese characters, and a 1,500-year-old Cham sword.

Historian Duong Trung Quoc said: “The unique sword collection has a historical value which is much more significant than its material value.”

American visitor Brian Brousseau said the exhibition was “beautiful and interesting”. However, he added that the displays needed to be more organised because “it is difficult for people to know detailed information, such as which swords were made in Vietnam ”.

A limited number of informational captions about the history of each sword disappointed another Vietnamese visitor.

“All I can do is look at the swords and admire them, but there are no stories to go alongside the experience,” said Thanh Ha.

However, she was still interested in taking the time to enjoy the exhibit.

“Before I only knew about swords from TV, movies and the theatre, which are usually all the same. Here I see that there are many differences in their shapes and decorations,” she said.

The exhibition also includes five bronze drums from the Dong Son civilisation which date back to 3,000 years ago.

The exhibition will last until the end of May at the Museum of Military History , 28A Dien Bien Phu Street , Hanoi.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Photo of power plant wins Vietnam Journalists Association contest

In Vietnam Culture on January 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

Tran Dam’s “Cua Dat power plant construction” won the first prize in the “Vietnam – integration and development” photography contest organized by the Vietnam Journalists Association’s Press Photo Club.

“Cua Dat power plant construction” by Tran Dam

Second prizes were awarded to Cao Manh Tien’s “Overcoming destiny” and Huu Tuyen’s “War veterans.”

The organizers also gave away three third prizes and 10 encouragement prizes.

Launched in June to mark Vietnam Revolutionary Press Day, June 21, the contest received more than 3,700 photos from 268 artists.

The pictures had to portray images from politics, economy, culture, and society.

The awards were given away at a ceremony held in Hanoi January 20.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Documentary explores 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi

In Vietnam Culture on January 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

A documentary film titled “1,000 Years of Thang Long Remembrance” about the millennial anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi will be broadcast on Ho Chi Minh City Television.

A scene of the documentary film is shot in Hanoi (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

The film consists of 140 segments including personal and historical accounts, and cultural and fine arts themes. Thirty-six streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter district will also be explored in the movie.

The documentary will be screened on HTV7 channel at 22:40 and on HTV9 channel at 23:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday a week from January 21st.

“1,000 Years of Thang Long Remembrance” was co-produced by Ho Chi Minh City Television’s TFS Studio and BHD media, entertainment and communications company.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

More cultural performances coming to Hue Festival

In Vietnam Culture on January 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

This year’s Hue Festival, titled “Cultural Heritage During Integration and Development,” will see a host of new and innovative cultural performances in Hue City and districts in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue from June 5-13.

A floating stage will be set up on Tinh Tam Lake in Hue City for performances of traditional and court music during Hue Festival 2010.

The festival’s organization board made the announcement at a press conference in Hanoi on January 21.

More than 40 art troupes from 31 countries including France, Argentina, the US, UK, Poland, Australia, India, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Senegal and more will take part in the nation’s largest cultural event.

Hue Festival 2010 will feature hundreds of tourism and cultural activities honoring Vietnamese and Hue ancient capital cultural values. The event will also bring together representatives of ancient capital cities and cities with world cultural heritage sites and traditions, said head of the festival’s organization board and Vice Chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial People’s Committee Ngo Hoa.

The festival will offer diverse attractions including royal banquets in Dai noi (Hue Imperial Citadel), food fairs, court music performances, and time-honored royal folk games.

Activities such as the Nam Giao Offering Ritual, Royal Palace by Night, and Legend of the Huong River will also be revived with participation of many local artists and dancers.

To celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi and Nguyen Phuc Lan Lord’s selection of Kim Long (a village 10km from Hue City) to be the capital city of the Southern Kingdom, a performance of the “Land Reclamation Itinerary” and the “Navy Maneuver Under the Dynasty of Nguyen Phuc Lan Lord” will be re-enacted onstage.

Hue City has a current total of around 6,000 hotel rooms. Local authorities will strictly control room-rental rates during the festival, said Mr. Nguyen Quoc Thanh, deputy director of the Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Hue Festival 2010 will kick off at Ngo Mon Square on June 5 and will wrap up at the Huong River on June 13.  

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Sculpting of world’s largest jade Buddha begins in northern Vietnam

In Vietnam Culture on January 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

State President Nguyen Minh Triet and former Party chief Le Kha Phieu January 18 symbolically polished a giant jade block to start the sculpting of the world’s largest jade Buddha in the northern province of Hai Duong.

President Nguyen Minh Triet and former Party Chief Le Kha Phieu polish a jade block as sculpting of the world’s  largest jade Buddha idol began in the northern province of Hai Duong January 18 ( Photo: SGGP)

Dao Trong Cuong, vice director of the Vietnam Gem and Jewelry Institute and director of the Than Chau Ngoc Viet Gem-made Painting Company had bought the 35-ton block, also the world’s biggest, at a gemstone fair in Myanmar.

Fifty skilled artisans from the company will join hands with foreign experts to sculpt the idol which is expected to take two to three years and cost US$800,000.

The idol will weigh nearly 16 tons and be three high and two meters wide. The world’s current largest Buddha idol is 2.5m tall and weighs 3.9 tons.

Mr. Cuong was the artist behind the gem portraits of the leaders of the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum who attended the 2006 APEC Summit in Hanoi.

The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s patriarch, the Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, and hundreds of Buddhist monks held a prayer-meeting before work began on the statue.

Related article:
APEC Heads in Stones of a Semi-Precious Variety

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

TV show reunites Soviet teachers with Vietnamese students

In Vietnam Culture on January 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm

According to a report, the former USSR trained around 52,000 Vietnamese experts and officials in various fields. Decades later, both Vietnamese former students and their Soviet teachers recall a fond relationship, which was documented in a Vietnam Television (VTV) program on Jan. 17.

The show, titled “Soviet teachers and Vietnamese students,” reunites some of the educators and pupils, focusing on shared memories and feelings of gratitude between both parties.

Former students grateful to Soviet teachers

Former Deputy Prome Minister Vu Khoan (R) talks with his Russian teachers in the show “Soviet teachers and Vietnamese students” (Photo: SGGP)

The show offered a rare opportunity for Vietnamese former students to express thanks to their Soviet teachers.

Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunications Do Quy Doan said that every time he visits Moscow, he makes a stop at the renowned Lomonosov University where he once studied. 

“I still keep in contact with my teachers, including Professor Nikolayevich Zasuski who is now 85 years old,” he said.

Prof. Ho Ngoc Dai said he has two profound memories of his teachers who showed him great kindness and introduced him to the world of science.

 “My teacher’s wife once told me that  my teacher loved me and talked about me so much that if I were a woman she would be jealous of me,” said Prof. Ho Ngoc Dai.

“Another teacher trusted and praised me [in all my endeavors],” he said.

“When I gave him my scientific article, he signed it without reading the article and asked a newspaper not to cut it,” Mr. Dai added. 

Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, meanwhile, said he will never forget the strong “Russian spirit” he has always felt.

“‘Russian spirit’ sounds vague but it is true and I believe that I can feel it,” he said, his voice filled with emotion.

“My Soviet teachers introduced me to the immense world of Russian language and the enriching culture of the nation,” said former Deputy Prime Minister Khoan.

“The Russian spirit travels with us during our life”, he added.

Soviet teachers return love for Vietnamese

VTV’s documentary filmmakers, who traveled to Russia and Ukraine many times to collect footage for the show, said they experienced much benevolence from the Soviet teachers.

“During our time in Russia and Ukraine, the polite teachers in formal costumes would always be waiting for us to hold a party at their houses,” said Kim Ngan, a VTV editor.

“They showed us black and white photos of Vietnamese students who had studied in Russia dozens of years ago,” Ngan added.

Soviet teachers also held on to the letters and essays of their Vietnamese students, and kept them neatly to remember them by, despite the fact that their ink is fading with time, she said.

Almost all the teachers are now in their eighties, yet they still vividly recall their former students, Ngan said. 

After the Dien Bien Phu Victory in 1954, President Ho Chi Minh sent three groups of Vietnamese children to study in Russia.

Fifty-five years later, Russian nursemaid Nina Anatolyevna Iratova who took care of more than 100 of the first Vietnamese students in Russia, said that she still remembered every student because she thought of them as her own children.

Prof. Sivokobulenko Vitaly Phedorovich, a former teacher of former Chairman of the Vietnamese Assembly Nguyen Van An, recalled interesting stories of his beloved student. He also showed photos of An when he was just a young pupil.

Teacher Zubes Doya Petrovna, a Russian language teacher who retired in Ukraine, said she has hung many photos and souvenirs from her Vietnamese students on the walls of her house.

“My husband and I cried when we watched a video in which my Vietnamese students sent their regards to us,” Zubes said.

Many years have passed since the day when Vietnamese students first set foot on Russian soil. But an unbreakable bond remains to this day between the Soviet teachers and their Vietnamese students.



Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Classical concert kicks off “German Year in Vietnam 2010”

In Vietnam Culture on January 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Almost 200 German and Vietnamese musicians will play together in a classical concert at the Hanoi Opera House on Jan. 23, kicking off the “German Year in Vietnam 2010” to mark the 35th anniversary of Vietnam-Germany diplomatic ties.

German conductor Jonas Alber

German conductor Jonas Alber, who has conducted many well-known orchestras in Germany and the world, along with musicians from the Berlin Symphony Chorus and the Vietnamese National Symphony Orchestra will take part in the musical event, said Marina May the manager of the German Year in Vietnam project to reporters in Hanoi on Jan. 18.

A similar concert will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on Jan. 24.

The German-Vietnamese cooperation programme in art highlights images of a cultural, creative and modern Germany in the areas of cinematography, music, photography, dance and fashion design.

There will be a special focus on environmental protection, urban climate change, planning, transport and architecture through a series of activities such as seminars, fairs, exhibitions and visiting artists during the years.

At a press conference, German Ambassador to Vietnam Rolf Schulze and Nguyen Sanh Chau, Head of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Cultural Diplomacy, said that the “German Year in Vietnam” and the “Vietnamese Year in Germany” have been sponsored by German President Horst Kohler and Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet.

The organisation of the events reflects the extent of the two countries’ relationship in the areas of economics, politics, culture and education as well as the close ties that have grown between the two countries over the past 35 years. The year will also see continued implementation of Vietnam’s policy on cultural diplomacy, a major part of the Vietnamese government’s comprehensive diplomatic policy, which includes politic, economic and cultural diplomacy.

“German Year in Vietnam” will help the Vietnamese people to better understand Germany and its people as well as help Vietnam to learn more about promoting the country abroad and organising external cultural activities, Chau added./.

Related article:
Vietnam, Germany celebrating 35th year of diplomatic relations

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Vietnamese paintings showcased in France

In Vietnam Culture on January 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

More than 40 paintings by Vietnamese artists are on display at an exhibition in Paris, France until January 25.

Some of the paintings are on the display.

The paintings, ranging from pastels, acrylic works, wood and zinc engravings as well as water colours were created by 25 artists from Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University.

A large number of the works feature beautiful scenes of different regions across Vietnam, which is aimed at raising French people’s understanding of Vietnamese painting to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries.

After the exhibition, the university plans to hold another exhibition on a much larger scale and have the chance to exhibit Vietnamese paintings in other towns and cities in France.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share