Preserving Muong cultural identity in festivals
In the first months of the year, in Thanh Son district, many traditional festivals have been held such as Khoang Communal House Festival in Huong Can commune; Ca Communal House Festival in Tat Thang commune that is held on the full moon of January; Thach Khoan Communal House Festival, in Thach Khoan Commune that is held on January 24 and 25; Thu Rong Communal House Festival in Yen Lang Commune; Chung Communal House Festival, in Giap Lai commune that is held on the full moon of February... Through the festivals, the unique cultural identities of Muong ethnic people are preserved.
Most of the communal houses in the district worship Tan Vien Mount Saint, his mother Mrs. Dinh Thi Den and historical figures in the time of Hung Kings founding of the country, i.e. the Dinh family members such as Dinh Cong Moc, Dinh Cong Tot, Dinh Cong Nha, Dinh Cong Thai, Cao Son, Quy Minh... After a period of being affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, this year, festivals are fully organized in the area with both ceremony and festival parts including activities: palanquin processions, sacrifices, camps and folk games like blind man"s bluff, cotton ball throwing, swing, volleyball competitions... in which, folk art performances are imbued with the cultural identity of the Muong ethnic group. Mr. Dinh Van Thanh from Tat Thang commune shared: The folk performing arts of the Muong people in Thanh Son are still quite well preserved, with Vi singing, Moi dance, Drum dance, Senh dance, rice pounding, and Gongs performance that are often performed during Tet and festivals, creating unique cultural identity in traditional festivals of the Muong ethnic group.
In the festivals of the Muong people, folk performing arts play an important role, both creating a joyful atmosphere and clearly showing the cultural identity. Performing gongs is one of the indispensable cultural features. Depending on the locality, the gongs orchestra has seven or 12 pieces, the Muong in Thanh Son use an awl with one end covered with red cloth to beat the gongs. Moi dance is one of the typical dances of the Muong in festivals.
If the performance of gongs, rice pounding, and Senh dance are the most popular in traditional festivals in Thanh Son, cotton ball throwing and swing are only held by a few localities. Cotton ball throwing is also an attractive game for boys and girls in the village festival. The ball is as big as a small child"s hand, sewn with many colored fabrics, stuffed with rice and cotton seeds inside. The ball also has decorative multicolored fabric tassels, which serve as orientation while throwing. The throwing field is a large field, in the middle is buried a tall bamboo tree (or column), on the top is a circle (throwing frame), the frame has a red paper glued on one side (symbolizing the power of the sun), and a yellow paper on the other side (symbolizing the moon). Players stand facing each other over the tree, and throw the ball going through the circle frame on the top of the column to win the game.
Crossbow shooting is a national sport held in many festivals, symbolizing the martial spirit of ethnic minorities. People who participate in crossbow shooting often prepare very carefully from choosing materials to make crossbows, setting the strings, sharpening arrows to practicing shooting movements for mastery. Besides, there are also a number of other sports that are often held, such as stick pushing stick, tug of war... Participating in sports competitions during festivals helps tighten solidarity and cohesion between villages and residential areas.
Performing folk arts and traditional folk sports and games during festivals is one of the practical activities to preserve and promote the intangible cultural heritages of the Muong people in Thanh Son, contributing to forming cultural identities of the Fatherland.