About twenty kilometers away from Hanoi, Lim Village of Bac Ninh province is the “hometown” of Quan Ho folk songs, one of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages. In order to enhance and promote the tradition of Quan Ho singing, Lim Festival is eagerly celebrated among local residents as well as pilgrims from every part of the country around the 12th or the 13th day of the first Lunar month.
In Vietnam culture, originally, Lim Festival aimed to worship Ba Mu, a child of Noi Due hamlet who led her religious life as a Buddhist nun at Lim Pagoda. After acquiring enlightenment, Ba Mu protected all residents within Lim Village from a severe drought. As a result, Lim villagers glorified Ba Mu as their guardian, and the enlightenment date of hers was taken to be the celebration day of Lim Festival. Gradually, the festival has played a vital role in promoting Quan Ho folk songs and become the leading Quan Ho festival throughout the country.
The main day of the festival is 13th day of Lunar New Year. At the beginning of the festival, the locals gather very early in a procession up to Lim Hill – the center of Lim Festival. On Lim Hill, representatives of villages take part in a traditional liturgy of incense-offering at Lim Pagoda, which is place to worship Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dien (so-called Hieu Trung Hau). According to the story told by a local resident, Nguyen Dinh Dien, who lived in 18th century, was born in Noi Due Village and made many great merits for his hometown. He was also the person who founded Lim Festival, which was originally Commune Festival held yearly in the eighth lunar month. Therefore, incense-offering liturgy expresses gratitude and respect of the locals to him, and is also an occasion to remember the origin of Lim Festival as well.
Each year, thousands of visitors come to Lim Village to enjoy skillful dialogues performances between “lien anh” and “lien chi” (male and female Quan Ho singers)—in which the singers must have not only quick reaction but also deep understanding on traditional tunes as well as their cultural and historical background.
Don’t miss the taste of betel chewing while enjoying smooth and lovely melody of “quan ho” folk songs. Moreover, on the lake in front of Lim Communal House, visitors can catch the scenery of “quan ho” singing performance on a dragon boat. Coming to Lim Festival, visitors will experience a unique specialty of legend land of Kinh Bac as well as of Vietnam in general.
Besides, Lim Festival is also space for various folk games such as “danh du” (bamboo swings), wrestling, cocks fighting, tugging war, blindman’sbuff, human chess, pot beating, etc. Especially, visitors can know more about culture of Vietnamese people in Red River Delta region with the competition of weaving.
Over 300 years in existence, Lim Festival has become an indispensable part of Vietnamese culture and pride of Vietnamese people.
Apart from watching performances of Quan Ho, festival goers can experience weaving competitions among the girls of Noi Due hamlet—simultaneously, they weave and sing Quan Ho. Other traditional games such as human chess playing, swinging, and wrestling are also held in the festival.
Some important information
As normal, ritual stages are always included the indispensable part of Lim Festival—for example: processions and worshipping ceremonies.
- Time: 12th-13th day of 1st lunar month
- Purpose: worship Ba Mu and promote Quan Ho folk songs
- Ceremonies: processions, worshiping rites
- Entertaining activities: Quan Ho singings, weaving competitions, traditional games
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