La práctica del ‘then’ por los grupos étnicos tày, nùng y thái de Viet Nam

Inscrito en 2019 (14.COM) en la Lista Representativa del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad

Práctica ritual esencial en la vida espiritual de las etnias tày, nùng y thái de Viet Nam, el “then” es la plasmación de una serie de conceptos sobre los seres humanos, la naturaleza y el universo. Sus ceremonias narran un viaje en el que el maestro, o maestra, “then” conduce a soldados fantasmas desde el reino terrestre al celeste para ofrendar objetos cultuales e impetrar con plegarias la paz, la sanación de enfermedades, cosechas abundantes, un año feliz, etc. Los maestros “then” comienzan la ceremonia del viaje cantando y tocando el tính, un instrumento de cuerda parecido al laúd. Según la finalidad que se haya asignado al acto religioso, los maestros preparan los viajes ceremoniales para poder dirigir las plegarias a las distintas divinidades nativas. Los actos cultuales pueden tener lugar al aire libre, en los hogares de los creyentes o ante los altares erigidos en casa de los maestros. En las celebraciones, éstos visten ropajes de ceremonia, cantan en el idioma de sus respectivas etnias, tocan el tính y sonajas, agitan un abanico y recurren a objetos como espadas de exorcismo, varillas ying yang, etc. A veces, en determinadas ceremonias intervienen grupos de bailarinas. Este elemento del patrimonio cultural vivo se ha transmitido siempre oralmente durante la celebración de los rituales, lo cual ha garantizado su perdurabilidad generación tras generación. Los maestros “then” celebran unas 200 ceremonias al año por término medio y desempeñan un papel fundamental en la transmisión del elemento debido a la gran experiencia que han acumulado.

The Then rite “The newly-built house celebration” performed by Male Then Master Hoàng Đức Dục (born in 1962, the Tày people) in Ba Bể district, Bắc Kạn province
The Then rite “Praying for good crop” performed by Female Then Master Mông Thị Sấm (born in 1939, the Nùng people) in Lạng Sơn city, Lạng Sơn province
A worshipping tray in the Then rite “Cầu Khoăn” (worship for the vital spirit) of the Tày people in Chiêm Hóa district, Tuyên Quang province
The Khám lễ dance in the Then ritual “Showing gratitude to the ancestors” performed by Female Then Master Chu Thị Hồng Vân (1974, the Nùng people) in Lạng Giang district, Bắc Giang province
The Chầu dance in a Then rite “Cầu Hoa” (to pray for a child) of the Tày ethnic group performed by Female Then Master Nông Thị Lìm (born in 1945, the Tày people) in Cao Lộc district, Lạng Sơn city, Lạng Sơn province
The Xòe dance around the Pang tree in a Then rite “Praying for a child” of the Thái people in the Tau village, Điện Biên Phủ city, Điện Biên province
The Then Cấp sắc (the ritual giving certificate to the profestional practice of the Then master) rite of the Tày people in Yến Lạc town, Na Rì district, Bắc Kạn province
The musical instruments, clothes, and objects used in a Then rite performed by Male Then Master Lưu Đình Bạo (born in 1942, the Tày people) in Dương Quang commune, Bắc Kạn province: 1. The Tính tẩu lute, 2. Singing, 3. Dress, 4. a picture hung in front of the tray of Master Then, 5. Tintinnabulum, 6. Drill, 7. Mèn (bell), 8. Tag, 9. The con niêng (reserved for the senior Then Master), 10. sword, 11. seal, 12. a pair of Thẻn coins
Male Then Master Hà Văn Thuấn (born in 1942, the Tày people) in Chiêm Hóa district, Tuyên Quang province teaching the Then singing and the Tính lute to children at a session of Then singing - the Tính lute of their community
The 2015 fifth festival on Then singing – Tính lute of the Tày, Nùng, and Thái ethnic groups in Tuyên Quang province
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