Lim Festival, Bac Ninh Province

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Lim Festival, Bac Ninh Province

vietnam visa   Lim Festival, Bac Ninh Province

There are many kinds of folk songs in Vietnam such as : Quan ho singing (in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh), Xoan singing (in Phu Tho),  Trong quan singing (in nothern plain provinces from Thanh Hoa), Xam singing (in northern plain provinces), Dam (in Ha Nam), Ca tru (in northern provices). Here I want to mention “Quan Ho” which is a special folk song of Kinh Bac Province, now called Bac Ninh Province. This one also relates to a very famous festival in spring “Lim festival”. The festival takes place on Lim Hill where the Lim Pagoda is located. This pagoda is where Mr. Hieu Trung Hau, the man who invented Quan Ho, is worshipped.

If you want to join the festival, please apply evisa Vietnam and come here because the village is located 18 km from Hanoi. In order to attend the Lim Festival, one should start northward from Hanoi, follow Highway No 1 for 24 kilometres up to Lim railway station which is a few hundred metres away from Lim Hill.

Quan Ho folk song festivals are organized every year in 49 villages of the Former King Bac province, which now account for a majority of villages in Habac province.They start form January 4 and end in the second half of February (lunar year), lasting for nearly two months but the main day of the festival is on 13th of the first lunar month. 

The opening date of the Festival is related to a legend: a native woman of the Eastern hamlet of Noi Due commune, named Ba Mu, became a Buddhist monk at the Lim Pagoda and, thereafter, reached enlightenment. When a serious drought hit the village, the inhabitants came to the pagoda and begged her for assistance and the drought was ended. As a result, the villagers of Lung Giang, alias Lim village, worshipped her as their Village Spirit Protector and took the date of her enlightenment as the date of their festival.

 Different from song exchanges in other places, the Quan Ho folk song festival is very well organised. The participants must belong to group of singers that have entered into a brother-sister relationship: a number of male singers organise “a group of Quan Ho male singers”; There are broadly two patterns of performance in Lim Quan Ho song festivals: Quan Ho teams or individual singers who attend and contribute to the festival would sing in open-air spaces and around the Lim Hill, whereas groups that have entered into a brother-sister relationship would sing indoors. Groups of Quan Ho singers come to the Lim festival dressed in their best and with a distinctive style: young men wear long black silk gauze dresses, long white trousers and black turbans, while girls wear traditional long red crepe dresses provided with trimmings of various colours, red tunics, rosy coloured belt, golden earrings and key chains.

Indoor performances involve elaborate preparations and thoughtful hospitality, with a host and a hostess providing Quan Ho food (to be paid for by the singers), tea, betel and a convenient and clean room. After the ceremony in honour of Lord Buddha, the visiting Quan Ho singer group is escorted to the house of the host party and song exchanges start at the very entrance with house-songs of greetings performed by the visitors, and welcome songs by the host singers. Thereafter, both groups enter the room and sit on long benches or beds located opposite one another, and the song exchanges begin in earnest.

Depending on the traditions and conditions of various villages, Quan Ho folk song festivals can be held indoors, in the yard of the communal house or of the pagoda, in large land spaces or on boats being gently rowed down the river, or elsewhere. In addition to Quan Ho folk songs, village festivals also contain other traditional games and entertainments, contests, fairs and other cultural activities.  Besides this, visitors can come to the Lim Festival to enjoy the weaving competition of the Noi Due girls.
         The Noi Due girls weave and sing quan ho songs.  Like other religious festivals, the Lim Festival goes through all the ritual stages, from the procession to the worshipping ceremony including other activities too. The Lim Festival is also celebrated with traditional temple games. In one game, teenage girls must mind a stranger’s baby, chew pieces of sugar cane in order to make fuel to start a fire, cook rice and prevent a frog from jumping out of a circle marked on the ground.
If the baby cries, the fire goes out or the frog escapes, the girl is disqualified.

 In terms of contents, the Quan Ho song exchange is multifaceted, involving analogies, questions and replies and quizzes on a myriad of subjects. As a rule, all messages must be in songs with occasionally some explanations to further elucidate the ideas. During lunch, the host singers must provide company to their partners, offer them food and, again, songs. In the afternoon, the visiting singers are requested to continue the song exchange up to midnight when there would be recess and a tea party. Thereafter, the song exchange goes on until dawn, when guests and hosts and hostesses, again in the form of songs, bid farewell and express keen hope to meet again some time in the future.

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