Lai Chau province’s cultural clubs preserve Dao ethnic traditions

(VOVWORLD) - A community of 14 ethnic groups in the mountain district of Sin Ho, Lai Chau province is home to diverse and unique cultural values and ethnic community practices, reflected in its many legends, folk songs, and traditional festivals. District authorities have established clubs to help preserve and promote the local ethnic culture. 
Lai Chau province’s cultural clubs preserve Dao ethnic traditions - ảnh 1Tan Phong art troupe of Sin Ho district practices the local traditional dance.

Tan San Chiem of Gang Lan hamlet in Sin Ho district is member of a club established by the local authorities to preserve the unique culture of the Dao ethnic group. Joining in the club activities has helped Chiem better understand her own ethnic cultural values including religious practices and traditional customs. Club members also teach  folk dancing and how to make traditional clothes.

“Dao folk songs used to be composed and sung spontaneously and Dao women were often reticent to perform in public places. As time went by, many Dao folk songs fell into oblivion and the younger Dao generations can no longer sing our traditional songs. Other Dao women and I decided to join this club as soon as it was established. We even bring our kids to the club. While mothers practice singing and brocade weaving, the kids can learn to sing traditional songs as well,” Chiem told VOV:.

Since 2016, ethnic women have established organizations at all levels in  Sin Ho district and started forming cultural and sports clubs for the local ethnic people to encourage them to engage in efforts to preserve the local  cultural values. 75% of Ta Phin commune’s population of 3,000 are Dao ethnic people and nearly 100 Dao women frequent  such clubs where they are taught folk songs, dances, and brocade weaving. These clubs have also organized folk songs competitions between different districts and provinces.

“The club has attracted many Dao women who love their traditional culture and want to promote it. They enthusiastically take part in every activity and competition organized by our club. We plan to engage more men, teenagers, and children as well," said Tan My Chai, head of such a club in Ta Phin.

"Older Dao people with good knowledge of the ancient Dao script will also be encouraged to join the club in order to help their successors gain a better understanding of the Dao ethnic language. We hope to  get more support both  materially and spiritually so that we can soon open classes on the ancient Dao script,” he added. 

Sin Ho currently has 4 clubs designed to preserve the local ethnic culture in De Phin, Nam Tam communes, and Ta Phin commune and town whose populations are mostly Dao, Mong, and Thai ethnic people. These clubs have contributed greatly to protecting and promoting the local  culture, especially in terms of revitalizing old festivals and ceremonies.

“We’ve organized activities where the local women can sit down and share with each other tips on making traditional clothes or singing folk songs. Such activities are highly encouraged as we want to make known our ethnic clothes to the younger generations and help them  gain a better understanding of the values inherent in in each costume," said Cheo Thi Ha, Chairwoman of Sin Ho district’s Women’s Union.

"It’s  our hope that our children will all be able to speak our traditional language and maintain our unique customs,” Ha noted.