Hue Festival 2022: Convergence of tradition, modernity and integration

As the ancient capital that preserves the nation's treasures of precious cultural and historical heritage, over the past decades, Hue has constantly innovated in the way of preserving and promoting these good values to intergrate with the world community. Hue Festival is a good example of Hue’s cultural integration.
Hue Festival 2022: Convergence of tradition, modernity and international intergration
The great attraction of Hue Festival 2022. (Photo: WVR)

Promoting cultural-historical values of the nation to generations of Vietnamese people as well as introducing them to the international audience is an important goal of cultural agencies, organizations and individuals who work in the fields relating to culture in Vietnam.

However, this is an extremely difficult task as society is constantly changing and more open and new cultural trends are embraced by the younger generation. If the old way of communication was still kept, the fading away of traditional cultural values ​​is only a matter of time.

These challenges require people working in cultural fields to constantly create and change their way of thinking and handling cultural activities, and apply modern methods to promote the beauty and goodness of traditional cultural values.

Over the past 20 years, the "makeover" journey of Hue Festival has shown that application of modern methods is a vital solution in preserving and spreading traditional cultural and historical values to the audience, domestically as well as internationally.

Spreading traditional cultural values ​​in modern times

Hue is one of Vietnam’s special localities, which used to be Lord Nguyen’s palace and the capital of the Tay Son and Nguyen Dynasties. Therefore, Hue possesses great cultural and historical values.

Hue's cultural heritages are not only known by the Vietnamese people but also recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The complex of Hue's old capital architecture was recognized as a tangible cultural heritage in 1993. Nha Nhac, Vietnamese court music, was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in 2003.

Woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty were recognized as a documentary heritage in 2009. The Nguyen Dynasty scrolls were recognized as a documentary heritage in 2014. Poetry on Hue royal architecture was recognized as a documentary heritage in 2016. In addition, Hue also has two heritages, similar as other localities’ heritages, namely Bai Choi Art in the Central region and the practice of worshiping Mother Goddesses, recognized as the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Apart from historical works that have marked the hidden sacred charm, Hue is also famous for its charming natural beauty and rich treasures of cultural and culinary heritage.

All that made Hue attractive to domestic and international tourists. Hue's cultural and historical heritage is a particularly important part of Vietnam's cultural treasure. Preserving, promoting and advertising these values ​​is a vital task.

Held for the first time in 1992, the Hue Festival has created a great impression with unique cultural and artistic performances, becoming a valuable spiritual staple for a large number of people nationwide and foreign tourists, contributing to stimulating the development of Hue tourism.

Since that time, the Hue Festival has been considered as a key cultural activity of the ancient city and held annually. Overcoming the ups and downs, Hue Festival is constantly renewing itself to adapt to the changing times and meet the needs of Vietnamese people, as well as foreign tourists. Up to now, Hue Festival 2022 is being evaluated as the most impressive festival in more than two decades.

Talking about the importance of the Hue Festival, Mr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports of Thua Thien-Hue province, said: "Festival Hue is essentially a cultural festival. Since the late 90s, while building the paradigm of Hue - Festival city, we have consulted and studied many paradigms around the world.

We realize that Hue's biggest strength is its culture and heritage. Tapping the potential of heritage as a material for the Festival is the most important focus. Since then, through 11 festivals, culture has always been the most important factor in the development and promotion of Hue's brand."

Hue Festival 2022: Convergence of tradition, modernity and international intergration
Hue Festival 2022: A place where music and art flourish. (Photo: WVR)

The Hue Festival always uses a consistent slogan "Cultural heritage with integration and development". Integration means bringing the heritage from the past to integrate and promote its values ​​in contemporary life. The festival is the ideal opportunity for Hue to promote those heritages to all tourists, especially foreign tourists.

The Hue Festival is a place to promote the quintessence of Hue culture and converge with the world cultural treasure, thus to affirm the position of Hue in particular and Vietnam in general in the world cultural arena. This is Vietnam’s proud aspect in the eyes of foreign friends.

A four-season festival in harmony and strong integration

From June 25-30, the key week in the summer festival of Hue Festival 2022 was successfully held, creating a very good effect, especially in the context that the world has entered a new normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emphasizing the new features of Hue Festival 2022, Mr. Huynh Tien Dat, Director of Hue Festival Center, said: "For the first time, the Festival was organized with a new format, as a festival spanned four seasons. The Organizing Committee would like the Festival to be accessible to a large public audience at home and abroad, especially when the festival could not be held in the past 2 years due to the pandemic.

We have selected the quintessential activities for this pivotal week. Different activities were held every day, promoting different cultural heritages, bringing diverse and unique specialties to the public. In particular, the series of street festivals and performances throughout the day are the most prominent highlights."

As the first Hue Festival to be held as a four-season festival with cultural and artistic activities performed all year round, day and night, the success of the summer festival has made an impressive series of programs, drawing great public attention.

Hue Festival Week 2022 with a series of 8 main programs, 34 colorful typical art performances and more than 30 activities of interaction, display and exhibition were spanned continuously for 6 days and nights at 11 stages and performance venues in Thua Thien Hue province.

Many main programs and festivals have attracted tens of thousands of spectators, such as the Opening Arts Program, the Street Festival “Colors of Culture”, the Beer Festival, performances of domestic and international art troupes, the Trinh Cong Son Music Program, the "Royal Reconciliation" Program, Hue Welcome Gala Night.

This was also an occasion for Hue to promote its heritage such as Ao Dai, culinary specialties through Hue Community Ao Dai Festival 2022, Food Festival "Culinary Capital Hue with four directions", Festival "100 street food".

Hue Festival 2022: Convergence of tradition, modernity and international intergration
International art troupe performing at Hue Festival 2022. (Photo: WVR)

In the international integration project of the Hue Festival, there is close coordination among many concerned agencies, including the Hue Museum of Fine Arts. Ms. Dinh Thi Hoai Trai, Director of the Museum, said: "The museum cooperates closely with the Department of External Affairs in international exchanges and cooperation. Coming soon is the exhibition Love Connection, which will show works of art created by less fortunate people. This will also be a meaningful activity within the framework of this year's festival."

Besides, the Hue Festival has contributed significantly to the economic development of the city, especially in the tourism field. In just one week, Hue welcomed more than 1,000 foreign guests and nearly 40,000 domestic tourists. The exchanges between domestic and foreign art troupes create a strong bond and make a bridge to bring Vietnamese cultural and historical heritage to the world.

As a pioneer in bringing the Festival to Hue, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Hoa, Former Director of the Department of Culture and Information of Thua Thien-Hue Province, former Director of Hue Festival Center, said: “Festival Hue has become a familiar brand with the public nationwide. If the first festival only created a buzz in Hue, now Hue Festival has expanded its influence nationwide and reached out to international friends.

Hue is also the first place to organize festivals in Vietnam. Keeping heritage on par with integration and development has gone deep into people's lives. It is not only international integration but also the convergence, cultural convergence, entertainment convergence, people convergence in this historic land."

Mr. Tran Cong Phu, Director of the Department of External Affairs of Thua Thien-Hue province also affirmed: "The performance activities with the participation of Vietnamese and foreign art troupes are important parts of the Hue Festival this year.

To do that, Hue’s Department of External Affairs has actively worked with diplomatic missions, creating a bridge to bring international art troupes to Hue. This coordination contributed to creating impressive performances and unforgettable emotions of Hue Festival 2022."

It can be said that Hue is doing very well in preserving and promoting the values ​​of traditional cultural and historical heritages, making those values ​​an indispensable spiritual staple of people in modern times, constantly spreading cultural heritage to international friends, as cultural integration is an important factor in the country's overall integration strategy.

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Translated by Thai Nguyen