Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 5.COM 6.46

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Viet Nam has nominated the Gióng festival of Phù Ðông and Sóc temples for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, described as follows:

The Gióng festival of Phù Đổng and Sóc temples is celebrated annually in outlying districts of Hanoi, the capital of Viet Nam. Each spring, before the rice harvest, the Việt people honour the mythical hero, god and saint, Thánh Gióng, who is credited with defending the country from foreign enemies, and is worshipped as the patron god of the harvest, national peace and family prosperity. The festival at Phù Đổng temple, which takes place in the fourth lunar month in the village of his birth, symbolically re-enacts his feats through the riding of a white horse into battle and the orchestration of an elaborate flag dance to symbolize the battle itself. Young men receive extensive training to play the roles of Flag Master, Drum Master, Gong Master, Army Master and Children’s Master, while 28 girls aged 9 to 13 are selected to play the enemy generals. The Flag Master’s dancing movements and drum and gong sounds convey the development of the battle, and paper butterflies released from the flag symbolically disperse the invaders. The arrival of rains after the festival is seen as a blessing from the saint for an abundant harvest. The celebrations at Sóc temple, where saint Gióng ascended to heaven, take place in the first lunar month and include the ritual of bathing his statue and a procession of bamboo flowers to the temple as offerings to the saint.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in nomination file No. 00443, the Gióng festival of Phù Ðông and Sóc temples satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.1:   The Gióng festival is deeply rooted in the communities of the Red River Delta as part of their identity, transmitted from generation to generation and providing them a sense of continuity;

R.2:   Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to promoting human creativity and dialogue between cultures, while providing visibility to intangible cultural heritage;

R.3:   Diverse and coherent safeguarding measures have been proposed aiming to preserve, document, transmit, recognize and promote the continuity of the Gióng festival, benefiting from the commitment of the communities and the State;

R.4:   The bearer and practitioner communities were consulted and provided information for the nomination, as well as their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   The Gióng festival is inscribed in an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of Viet Nam, maintained by the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Art Studies.

  1. Inscribes the Gióng festival of Phù Ðông and Sóc temples on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.