Vietnam’s Xoan singing has been added to UNESCO list of “intangible heritage” in urgent need of protection, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s National Cultural Heritage Department.
The decision was made on November 24th, 2011 at the on-going sixth session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safe-guarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Bali, Indonesia. There are only 10 among 23 cultural heritages from a number of countries such as: China, Brazil, Mongolia or United Arab Emirate, that have managed to attain recognition as World Cultural Heritages by UNESCO, based on the value of the heritage itself and the heritage conservation action plan of the host country.
Vietnam’s Xoan is the only candidate that receives approval of all members in the UNESCO evaluation committee.
Xoan singing, the vocal art from the northern province of Phu Tho, is usually performed in front of communal house, during village festivals in spring time. People sing Xoan to worship Hùng Kings (the Almighty kings), who founded and ruled the nation from 2879 to 258 BC and being the village’s deity patron. The art also portrays a desire for abundant crop, good health; and courtship. Many historical, social and archaeological records assert that Xoan singing first appeared in the time of the first rulers of Vietnam.
“The ministry will soon work out programs and specific plans to protect and promote Xoan singing”, said Nguyen Huu Toan, deputy head of the National Culture Heritage Department.