Hue festival – a revival of the past folk life
No matter how much Hue has been shaped by the imperial past or even by the modernization of the 21st century, Hue is always a city of simplicity, of childhood memory and folk life tradition. In every Hue Festival, the city seeks to encourage the celebration of these traditional practices and customs, by holding a lot of events to revive and enliven these invisible and intangible values. It’s not only a performance or a revival but a reminder of how people have lived, worked and enjoyed life, as well.
During one week of the biannual Festival, Hue’s sky is beautifully colorized by gently flying objects called kite. Kite – flying is a popular activity amongst children in Vietnam, with kites of various colors and shapes. Throughout the sunny and windy summer days, it’s easy to catch the sight of Ngo Mon Square becoming the kite-flying land. This is also a chance to show visitors the height of kite-making and flying skills of Hue people. Tourists will surely be fascinated by special kites of artisans such as a 100m dragon kite, or flying a kite themselves
Children learn to make kite for the festival
Thanh Toan Village Market Fair
Thanh Toan Village Market Fair is where people can witness a market functioning as a communal gathering place. Open up next to the well-known Thanh Toan Roofed Tile Bridge, this market sells regional products and Hue popular dishes. A visit to the nearby museum of agricultural tools gives an insight into the farming life and wet rice civilization vividly through tools such as: ploughs, sickles, hoes, rice-hulling mills, rattan and bamboo woven souvenir gifts.
The most exciting part that “Rural market on festive days” offers is game. Here the spirit of social gathering at the village market is best expressed, with children, men and ladies playing “bai choi” (singing while playing card), “co nguoi” (human chess), “da ga” (cockfighting), etc.
Paper flower making - Thanh Tien Village
The next two destinations designated to rekindle nostalgia, are Thanh Tien and Phuoc Tich Village. The former one is famous for its craft of making paper flower. Seeing these colorful elegant flowers, people can’t help reminding themselves of the special atmosphere before Tet - when these flowers fill up every road and every house. It’s the connection with traditional folk belief that keeps paper flowers alive until today under the harsh competition from plastic flowers.
The paper flowers arranged by painter Than Van Huy’s in his own garden during Hue Festivals may be a better choice for tourists who prefer a small art space in common daily life.
Paper flower display in Thanh Tien village
Free admission to the ancient village of Phuoc Tich
The last is Phuoc Tich Old Village, which is a big astonishment to experts. There are 27 old houses that have survived rain, harsh sunshine, poverty and historical changes. The museum of “ruong” houses (typically Vietnamese house architecture), in addition to its historical and architectural values, is also an address to learn how life in the countryside used to be.
If Hoi An was a commercial port town in the early 16th century, Phuoc Tich is a perfect model of a village in Northern Central Vietnam, composed of communal houses, pagodas, temples, clans’ altar houses, village wells, century-old trees and gardens.
An old house in Phuoc Tich village
Just like the spirit of folk life values, most of these programs are free, which mean tourists can join without entrance fee. While staying in Hue during Festival times, don’t miss the chance to observe the true soul of Vietnamese people, of the countryside with rice paddy fields, and of villages where people live in harmony with nature and with each other.