Ethnic minority women ‘keep the fire’ of national culture
|Ms. Hu Thi Xuan passionately encouraged each woman to join the performance team, together practicing and teaching the ancient songs and dances of their people. (Photo: T.L)
Referring to the examples of women who contribute effectively to preserving traditional national culture, it is impossible not to mention Ms. Hu Thi Xuan, a Si La ethnic person in Seo Hai village, Can Ho commune, Muong Te district, Lai Chau province. She is not only a prestigious and exemplary village patriarch in the commune, but also someone who is dedicated to preserving the traditional cultural identity of her people.
As a person of the Si La ethnic group, one of the five smallest ethnic groups in the community of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, more than anyone else, Ms. Xuan understands the meaning and vital role of preserving national cultural identity for generations, especially in the context of strong integration between ethnic groups nowadays. If we do not maintain and teach our nation’s tangible and intangible cultural forms to our posterity, those traditional values will soon no longer exist.
From that mindset, over the years, Ms. Xuan has diligently gone to each house, encouraging each woman to join the performance team, together practicing and teaching the ancient dances and songs of her people. Whatever she remembers, she teaches with the wish of not only arousing the passion for folk singing and the love of traditional national culture, but also helping the young generation understand their role in preserving and promoting the nation’s cultural identity.
In addition, Ms. Xuan also participated with a professional agency in researching and compiling documents about the cultural features of the Si La ethnic group, as a way to “revive” the nation’s traditional values that are at risk of falling into oblivion. Consequently, up to now, many traditional rituals of the nation such as ancestor worship, weddings, new rice celebration, giving thanks to heaven and earth and village worship ceremonies have begun to be restored.
In particular, Ms. Xuan also actively mobilized the people of Seo Hai village to participate in the movement to build cultural families and villages organized by the Department of Culture and Information of Muong Te district in coordination with the executive committee and local authorities to launch and encourage Si La people to preserve and promote their own cultural identity, and mobilize families to teach their children the Si La ethnic language.
With her significant contribution to preserving traditional national culture, Ms. Xuan was honored to be awarded the title of Meritorious Artist, Folk Performing Arts of Lai Chau province by the President and received many certificates of merit from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and local authorities. She is also one of the delegates attending the 2023 Reputable People Recognition Conference, which will be held this coming November in Hanoi.
|Ms. Thi Muong diligently preserves the traditional brocade weaving profession of the Xtieng people. (Photo: T.L)
Along with preserving the language, dances, ancient songs or traditional customs, traditional professions imbued with the cultural identity of ethnic minorities have also been maintained and improved with the skillful hands and innovative thinking of women in Central Highlands.
With the concern to preserve the traditional cultural values of the Xtieng people, despite her old age, Ms. Thi Muong (born in 1956, from Bu Dinh hamlet, Thanh An commune, Hon Quan district, Binh Phuoc province) is still actively encouraging women in the area to facilitate their leisure time, to stimulate and develop the brocade weaving profession of the people.
Ms. Muong said that brocade weaving is a traditional profession that is “deeply ingrained” in the blood of every Xtieng woman. Because this is not just about preparing yourself gorgeous national costumes, but it has become a beauty in the traditional culture of the Xtieng people for generations.
Therefore, Ms. Muong and many other women founded the Brocade Weaving Group, with the participation of approximately 30 members, joining hands to the preservation of the traditional craft, bringing Xtieng brocade to take part in competitions, and promoting national culture through cultural exchange.
Also from here, traditional brocade products of the Xtieng people were introduced, closer to consumers, indirectly helping the women in the Group increase their income and improve their economic life.
In the upcoming time, Ms. Muong plans to open more vocational training classes for members and women in the area, with the desire to help the ethnic brocade products reaching out to the world, in both domestic and foreign markets, so that brocade weaving craft and traditional costume colors will be developed day by day.
With diligence and love for national culture, Ms. Hu Thi Xuan, Ms. Thi Muong, and many other ethnic minority women, are silently contributing to preserving traditional cultural beauty day by day. As a connection between values from the past to the present and the future, they have affirmed their role and significant contributions in the field of culture during the integration period, adorning the cultural picture of ethnic groups.
Since then, the pride and sense of responsibility of the young generation in preserving the nation’s unique traditional values has multiplied, so that the cultural bridge across highland villages will always be extended and lasting in today’s modern rhythm of life.