Frenchman to release book on Yersin

French writer Patrick Deville will release his new book on bubonic plague and cholera at a function to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Alexandre Yersin at the Institute for Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF) on February 28th.

Deville, 55, studied French and comparative literature at Nantes and worked as a cultural attache in the Persian Gulf. He has travelled extensively in Africa and Latin America, and based several of his books on these travels.

Yersin was a protege of Louis Pasteur and the first to identify the deadly bubonic plague virus and develop a vaccine.

He travelled the world, embraced emerging technologies, and revolutionised agriculture and medicine.

The book, titled “Plague and Cholera,” has been described as a “brilliant, absorbing, multi-layered novel” about Yersin “but is also a haunting rumination on the difficult birth of the 20th century; science, literature and art; nationalism, colonialism, and war; and the demands of progress and the pursuit of adventure.”

‘Coffee metropolis’ to host biennial festival


Visitors to the fourth biennial Coffee Festival in Buon Ma Thuot City in the Dak Lak Province will have the chance to immerse themselves in the culture-soaked region while enjoying the delights of thousands of coffee brands.

Scheduled to take place at the city’s Biet Dien Museum from March 9-13, the festival is both a cultural event and a tribute to coffee – the area’s speciality – hoping to promote its important role in the region’s socio-economic development.

A 30-minute art show entitled Dang Hien Ca Phe (Coffee Offering) and gong performances will be showcased at the festival.

Meanwhile, coffee growers in the province will gather to compete in a contest testing their knowledge of coffee.

Dubbed “Viet Nam’s coffee metropolis”, Dak Lak contributes 60 per cent of the national coffee production.

The festival will gather about 200 coffee enterprises across the country to demonstrate their latest products, as well as age-old favourites.

Nearly one million people visited the third coffee festival in 2011 and organisers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this time around.

Lao Cai: 7,000 tourists in 1st week of New Year

Over 7,000 foreign tourists, mostly Chinese, entered Viet Nam through the Lao Cai International Border Gate during the first seven days of the Lunar New Year, according to local authorities.

Tran Vu Hoang, Chief of the Customs Office at Lao Cai International Border Gate, said a large number of Chinese families chose to visit Viet Nam over Tet.

During the first days of Tet, many Chinese people queued at the Lao Cai international border gate, reflecting the success of Lao Cai authorities’ policies to attract domestic and foreign tourists.

Lao Cai forecasts one million tourists will visit the province in 2013.

Viet Nam attends International Book Fair in Cuba

Viet Nam is exhibiting books about Uncle Ho, the country’s revolution and renewal process as well as its people and land at the ongoing 22 nd Cuba International Book Fair.

The 10-day event which opened on February 15 displays books from 150 publishing houses from 31 countries.

Cuban Book Institute President Zuleica Romay said many international writers, poets and scholars, such as Spain’s Juan Madrid, Germany’s Hans Christoph and Israel’s Amir Or, are attending the event.

During the fair, Cuba’s largest annual cultural event, various seminars on literature and international issues will be held.

Nationwide New Year festivals draw visitors

Nearly 20,000 visitors rushed to a festival to mark the 1,973 rd anniversary of the two Trung sisters’ uprising in Hanoi’s outlying district of Me Linh on February 15, the sixth day of the Lunar New Year.

The event, which will run until February 19, honours Trung Trac and Trung Nhi who formed an army to revolt against the Han Chinese invaders. They succeeded in regaining independence for the country, which had been under foreign feudal rule for more than two centuries.

Following a procession and rituals, folk games and music performances got underway.

The same day, in the outlying district of Soc Son, the traditional Soc Son temple festival, known as Giong festival, commenced to commemorate Saint Giong who sacrificed his life fighting En invaders from the north.

The event, with offering rituals and folk games, will run until February 17.

The annual Co Loa festival also got underway, paying tribute to King An Duong Vuong , who founded the Au Lac Kingdom and Co Loa spiral citadel in the fight against invaders.

Meanwhile, thousands of revellers took part in the opening of the Tich Dien-Doi Son festival in Duy Tien district, Ha Nam province.

The annual event originates from the Le dynasty, when in 987, King Le Dai Hanh decided to plough in Doi Son commune, Duy Tien district, to wish for bumper crops.

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, the Thien Truong Antiques Association and the UNESCO club displayed nearly 1,000 artifacts in the provincial Nam Dinh museum.

Exhibits include ceramics, wooden and iron items that date back to the Ly, Tran and Le dynasties.

France introduces woven products in Hue

France will exhibit its woven products during Hue Traditional Craft Festival from April 27 to May 1, 2013, according to Nguyen Dang Manh, Deputy Chairman of central Thua Thien-Hue Province People’s Committee.

French artisans will introduce five cloth weaving techniques, including Lyon silk weaving of Prelle factory since 1880, and the velvet and crease-creating technique of Benoit Toscan d’Amiens. The woven products of Saint Etienne de la Satab, Aubusson carpet, and a French weaving initiative will also be showcased.

The exhibition is a result of a French delegation’s recent working trip to Hue . It was led by Christine Bouilloc, Director of Bargoin Museum in Clermont Ferrand, and Christine Athenor, Director of Festival International des Textile Extraordinaries (FITE).

“The quintessence of Vietnamese crafts” festival is the fifth traditional craft fair to take place in Hue . It focuses on developing traditional products and villages for tourism, and attracts the participation of artisans from craft villages around the country.

Co Loa: Special national relic

The Co Loa archeological, architectural and historical relic site got a certificate recognising it as a special national relic on February 14.

The ceremony was jointly held by the Ha Noi municipal and Dong Anh district People’s Committees and Thang Long Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, central and municipal officials, overseas visitors and locals attended the event.

Addressing the ceremony, Nhan affirmed that Co Loa’s new status was to add historical and cultural value to the relic.

The Ha Noi authorities have been paying great attention to conserving and restoring its cultural vestiges, including Co Loa, in coordination with developing tourism, which promotes Viet Nam’s traditional cultural identity, added Nhan.

For her part, Deputy Chairwoman of the Ha Noi municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc requested the city’s departments, industries and authorities to continue preserving and restoring the relic.

Co Loa is a relic complex of unique architectural and archeological value. The focal point of the complex is a three-round spiral citadel with 16 km in length, an outstanding example of Vietnamese and Southeast Asian architecture.

Co Loa was the ancient capital of the Vietnamese state of Au Lac during the reign of King An Duong Vuong 2,300 years ago.

National heritage: Lo Lo people’s ancestral worship

The Lo Lo ethnic minority group’s ancestral worship was recently recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage. It is also the special cultural identity of ethnic people inhabiting Dong Van Stone Plateau in mountainous northern Ha Giang province.

The ancestral worship, which aims to acknowledge ancestors, is a beautiful spiritual custom passed down from generation to generation. It is practised by the Lo Lo people only during the Lunar New Year festival and on the 15 th day of July of the lunar calendar.

Offerings to ancestors include one cow, one pig, one chicken, steamed glutinous rice, alcohol and votive papers. A pair of bronze drums, with one representing the male and the other exemplifying the female, is indispensable to the Lo Lo people. The drums symbolise the universe and human beings, and are the embodiment of gods.

The solemn worship lasts for two and a half days. Young people wearing traditional costumes perform ritual dances to the rhythm of the bronze drums.

At the end of the worship, the food offerings will be served to thank neighbours for their help.

The Lo Lo people believe that through this practice, their ancestors will be happy in the after life and give them health and prosperity.

Duong Thanh Huong, Deputy Director of Ha Giang Museum, said the Lo Lo people’s ancestral worship is a unique custom, connecting family members and enhancing solidarity among the community.

The Lo Lo population in Ha Giang numbers 1,506, residing mostly in Lung Cu, Lung Tao, and Sung La communes of Dong Van district and Thuong Phung and Xin Cai communes of Meo Vac district.

Source: VNS, SGGP, VOV