Dong Van Karst Plateau: Preserving and Promoting Cultural Values

Preserving and promoting the heritage and cultural values at Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark has been actively pursued by governments, agencies at all levels and residents of the plateau. Raising public awareness

Preserving and promoting the heritage and cultural values at Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark has been actively pursued by governments, agencies at all levels and residents of the plateau. Raising public awareness

Mr Shen Chin Ly, Vice Chairman of the Ha Giang Provincial People’s Committee, said the province has directed responsible agencies to strengthen support, information and education of local residents to protect ecological environment and geological heritage in the geopark; raise public awareness and help local residents to lead a better life. By 2014, local inhabitants will shift from pure agriculture to tourism-oriented agriculture, integrate new countryside construction model with cultural – culture village construction programme, develop community-based tourism in association with preserving and tapping cultural, historical, geological, geo-ecologic heritage values, and protect native cultural identities.

In the past time, the Management Board of Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark has coordinated with district governments in the geopark to organise train courses for grassroots communicators who come from the Fatherland Front, veterans associations, farmers associations, women’s unions and youth unions in communes in the geopark. This is one activity of six criteria of the Global Network of Geoparks (GGN) in the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark. Trainees are provided detailed knowledge of geopark and values of geological heritage, cultural heritage, and biodiversity in the geopark. The Management Board signed a cooperation agreement with the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on conservation of cultural values of ethnic minorities living in the geopark.

After two years of joining GGN, spiritual values, cultural values ​​and livelihoods of ethnic peoples in four districts in the geopark are attached more importance. Inhabitants in four geopark districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac are provided more knowledge, skills and information. This programme has also been added to syllabuses at schools in the geopark.

Unique humanity values ​​in geopark

The Mong is a typical people in the geopark with diverse cultural identity. Their culture is well-adapted to the living environment and is not affected by external cultures and religious beliefs. The huge and diverse treasury of folklores, fables, proverbs and folk songs depicting the life material and spiritual life, and above all, the optimism in love and life. Like other ethnic groups, Mong proverbs are the treasure of knowledge of living experience, production experience, social relationships, lifestyle and behaviours of the people. The life with harsh nature is written in many proverbs.

During their hard life, they created simple musical instruments which make captivating sounds. Khen (panpipe) is a typical wind musical instrument of Mong people. The Khen is commonly played at funerals because its sounds tell deep mourning of people alive to the deceased. In addition, it is played in many other contexts like festivals, market days or even on roads. Folk musical instruments of Mong people also have leaf horns, two-string violins, lip-horns, flutes and drums. Playing with khen is khen dancing. This is a very popular but diverse dance of Mong ethnic group. Today, khen dancing is adapted into a popular performance music. Apart from khen dancing, Mong people are also famous for money-asking dancing and ghost-dispelling dancing.

Singing has an important role in daily life of Mong people because it sends the message and affection to viewers. The culture of Mong people is indigenous and insightful. Traditional folk festivals of Mong people living in Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang province is an intangible cultural property imbued with national identity.
Thanh Nga

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