Culture and Beliefs

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Connecting Cultural Integration Bridges
Date: 14/11/2023

The heritage and local tourism guides are likened to "bridges" that connect cultural integration. Through their introductions and guidance, the beauty of the land and people is vividly recreated, attracting tourists. In recent times, improving the quality of interpretation and guidance at heritage sites and cultural destinations in Can Tho City has been paid attention to, contributing to "reinforcing" those bridges.
Students from O Mon District introduce the National Intangible Cultural Heritage of the “Ho” (traditional singing) of Can Tho.

From a competition

Recently, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training of Can Tho City successfully organized the 2023 Heritage Culture and Destination Interpretation Competition for Local Heritage. Middle school students across the city competed to introduce the heritage of their hometown. Students from Binh Thuy District introduced the Binh Thuy Communal House Temple, interweaving the legend of the Binh Thuy place name. Students from Cai Rang vividly introduced the National Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cai Rang Floating Market. Meanwhile, students from Thot Not District introduced the National Intangible Cultural Heritage of Thuan Hung Rice Paper Craft with very meticulous props, while also skillfully introducing additional local heritage sites, including the Bang Lang bird sanctuary filled with the sounds of birds.

But perhaps the most memorable performance was from O Mon District students introducing the National Intangible Cultural Heritage of the “Ho” (traditional singing) of Can Tho. Through a lively skit, verses of songs evoking the rivers and lands, and introductions to the origins of the heritage were presented vividly. The performance from O Mon District won first prize in the competition. As for students from Phong Dien District, the story of National Historical Site The Tomb of Patriotic Poet Phan Van Tri was recounted with great passion. Nguyen Thi Bao Ngoc, a student from Tan Thoi Secondary School, Phong Dien District, said: "I and my classmates prepared thoroughly, finding more materials with the help of teachers to have the best performance possible. I was very happy to introduce the cultural heritage of my hometown".

Currently, Can Tho City has 38 classified historical and cultural sites, along with the Hung King Cultural Monument in Can Tho (Binh Thuy District) and the Chau Van Liem Memorial Temple (Thoi Lai District). In addition, the city has recorded 116 forms of intangible culture, including 5 heritages included in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's List of National Intangible Cultural Heritages: Cai Rang Floating Market Culture, Binh Thuy Communal House Temple Festival, Can Tho “Ho” (traditional singing), Lullabies of the Vietnamese in Can Tho and Thuan Hung Rice Paper Craft. Specifically, Southern Vietnam's Don ca tai tu singing was recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and Can Tho along with 20 southern provinces and cities are preserving and practicing it.

In addition to the explanation teams at the sites, the Heritage Propagation Teams in schools are the "extended arms" for heritage to spread widely. Mr. Truong Cong Quoc Viet, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho City, said: The cultural heritage of Can Tho is very diverse and rich. To contribute to the preservation and promotion of heritage values, it is necessary to have community participation in propaganda, including the school environment. Therefore, in addition to the meaning of exchange and experience sharing in heritage propaganda work, the competition is also a playground for students to hone presentation skills and understand better the types of local cultural heritage. "The competition will also discover and cultivate potential heritage culture propagandists and local heritage tourism sites that have prospects, helping to improve the professional quality of Heritage Propagation Teams and local heritage tourism sites in schools," emphasized Mr. Truong Cong Quoc Viet.

On-site guide Duong Thi Huynh introduced students visiting the Memorial Site of Top Scholar Bui Huu Nghia.

Love and passion.

In the summer, Ms. Duong Thi Huynh, an explanation officer at the Culture, Sports and Radio Broadcasting Center of Binh Thuy District, is quite busy. She often guides tourists to visit historical sites in the district, especially the Vuon Man Base historical site. Each component, each artifact, and each detail of the story is thoroughly memorized by Ms. Huynh and told to tourists with passion. However, for her, that is still not enough. On occasions when veterans return to visit the base, she takes the opportunity to contact them to find out more new information, and good stories. Ms. Huynh shared: "The most important thing for an explanation officer at historical sites is still love and passion for the job. Only with that will the explanation officer be willing to seek, learn, and hone skills when serving tourists".

Ms. Le Thi Thanh Thuy, an on-site guide working at the Trade Promotion - Tourism Management and Monument Management Center of Phong Dien District, has long experience in the field of historical site explanation. She used to work at the Can Tho City Museum, the City Monument Management Board, then transferred to Phong Dien District, wherever the job of explaining historical sites, for her is a whole love. To be devoted to the job of explaining historical sites, Ms. Thuy believes that constantly improving knowledge, firmly grasping knowledge about local culture, beliefs, religion, customs and habits is very important. Each time receiving a delegation, the explanation officer needs to be meticulous, neat from clothing, time, spirit, both to respect tourists and respect their own job.

Specifically, the work of explaining historical sites in Phong Dien district, according to Ms. Thuy, tourists visiting are quite diverse, from tourists to delegations from state agencies, students, university students... For each type of tourist, Ms. Thuy will have a suitable guidance method. "The way of conveying information to visiting tourists is very important. Moreover, the explainer must be receptive and listen," Ms. Thuy shared.

Currently in the city, in addition to explanation officers of Can Tho City Museum, the explanation officer team at sites has been gradually improved. Every year, the city museum organizes skills training courses for site explanation officers for grassroots cultural officers. Many localities maintain this force well such as Binh Thuy district, Phong Dien district, Thot Not district.

In terms of tourism development, in the past time, the city has focused on upgrading, restoring historical and cultural monuments, linking with tourism activities, and having positive changes. However, the development of tourism associated with historical and cultural monuments has not met requirements, the number of tourists visiting monuments has increased but lacks stability. Some monuments have not been invested in exploitation associated with tours, tourism routes. The guiding force at sites is still lacking and unprofessional. Therefore, in addition to strengthening the preservation and sustainable promotion of monument values, meeting tourists' needs for visits and experiences, one of the necessary solutions is to focus on training tourism human resources, focusing on training both vocational skills and foreign languages for labor in the tourism industry. In particular, it is necessary to regularly train the guiding team at sites to fully convey the cultural and historical values of monuments, making monuments livelier and more attractive.

Source: Can Tho News - Translated by Hoang Dat

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