Vietnam to seek UNESCO recognition for traditional tug-of-war

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Tug-of-war played at a traditional festival in Vietnam'a northern province of Tuyen Quang. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VIETNAM PRESS AGENGY

The Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the Prime Minister for permission to list northern Vietnam's traditional tug-of-war game in a multinational file along with other countries in the region seeking UNESCO world heritage recognition.

According to the Ministry, the Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation has invited it to help build the file for tug-of-war along with Korea and other East Asian countries where the traditional competition is popular. 

The file will be submitted to UNESCO for recognition of tug-of-war as a Cultural heritage intangible representation of humanity by 2015, said a Friday report on the government portal.

In its report sent to the PM, the Ministry said tug-of-war is a special cultural heritage which is not only a social practice, but also appears in traditional rituals and festival events.

Particularly in Vietnam, the activity, which honors the power of unity, has been practiced by not only Kinh people, the majority ethnic group in Vietnam, but by many other minor ethnic minority groups in the country for generations, said the Ministry report.

As regulated by UNESCO, each country is allowed to submit only one cultural heritage for the status of world heritage each year, but joining in a multinational file is not counted as a full file for any country.

The organization, on the other hand, encourages cooperation among countries to protect, preserve and develop mutual cultural heritages.

Representatives from the Ministry said that Vietnam taking part in building the multinational is a good chance for the country to strengthen its regional and international integration, as well as to help popularize Vietnam's cultural heritage.

UNESO lists intangible cultural heritages as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

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