Bai choi performance in Hoi An

(VOVworld) - Hoi An is even more beautiful at night when hundreds of lanterns are lit. The ancient town is lively thanks to popular games that take place in the streets attracting both residents and tourists. The most popular traditional game is “bai choi”, a game similar to bingo accompanied by Vietnamese traditional folk music.

Bai choi performance in Hoi An  - ảnh 1

The show which takes place along the Hoai River attracts the attention of visitors with the exciting sounds of singing and audience applause. The Bai Choi stage was first set up by the Hoi An Culture and Sports Center to recreate the atmosphere of a full-moon night in the ancient town and introduce tourists to the local culture. Now the game is growing and more popular among local residents as well. Vo Phung is Director of Hoi An Culture and Sports Center: “We managed to revive two popular games: earthen pot smashing and bai choi, which was restored in 1998. At that time, the game was played by locals only. Later, we included the game in Hoi An festival programs. It immediately became popular with tourists. Today, Bai Choi games take place every night and attract an incredible number of people".

On the stage there are 9 bamboo stands, each stand accommodating between 5 and 6 players, a “mother stand” with a bamboo tube containing cards, and flags and a stand in the center, where a music group plays. The cards, pasted on bamboo sticks, are engraved with human figures, objects and animals. Each card corresponds to a particular song. A player sings a song and the host of the game listens and rings a wooden bell if he hears the song corresponding to the image on his card. If the song is good, the player receives a yellow flag. The singing continues and the player with the most flags wins. The game is simple, but fun and exciting. Luong Dang of the Hoi An Culture and Sports Center says that most Hoi An people are familiar with the game: “The Bai Choi game and singing are like spiritual food for Hoi An people. When I was little, I heard my grandmother singing Bai Choi. The art has been absorbed into my blood”.

Bai choi performance in Hoi An  - ảnh 2

The songs promote patriotism, filial feelings, love, friendship and people’s fine qualities and criticize social evils and backward customs and practices. The singers sometimes improvise their own words. On the stage of Bai Choi, typical folk tunes of south-central Vietnam are performed. The winner of the game receives a beautiful lantern, a specialty of Hoi An. But wining and losing are not important. What matters is being part of a lively and authentic show in one of Vietnam’s most charming cities.