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Workshop fosters UNESCO-recognised Giong festival’s values

A workshop gather in Hanoi on June 23 to discuss the preservation of cultural values of the Giong festival and promote the festival-based sustainable tourism development.

Participants stressed the need to raise public awareness of preserving and developing heritage values of the festival, which was recognised as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Responsibilities of authorities at all levels in working together to build and upgrade infrastructure facilities to satisfy visitors to festivals was also referred to at the event.

Attendees also pointed to the necessity to link the festival and other tourism products in the region into a regional heritage tourism model to optimise their values.

The Giong festival of Phu Dong and Soc temples in Gia Lam and Soc Son districts is celebrated annually before the rice harvest to honour the mythical hero, god and saint, called “Thanh Giong”, who legend says turned from a child to a giant overnight to fight against foreign invaders in the past.

Legend has it that Giong was born very strangely. His mother saw a huge footstep in the field and tried her foot on. Coming back home, she got pregnant and gave birth to the little boy named Giong, who never talked or smiled.

When Giong was three years old, the country was in danger of invasion. The boy asked the king to forge an iron horse, an armour and a cane for him. Giong turned into a giant, riding the horse and fighting against the aggressors. Finally, after got rid of the enemy, he galloped to the Soc Mountain, taking off the armour and flying into the sky.

As the largest and unique cultural event of the Red River Delta region, in 2010 the Giong festival was included in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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