Viet Nam’s spiritual singing bewitches international friends
Update: Feb 29, 2016
More than 20 ambassadors and representatives of international organisations in Viet Nam enjoyed a performance of Chau Van singing and Hau Dong (trance ritual) in the northern province of Nam Dinh on February 26.

The show is part of a programme highlighting Buddhism, Christianity and Mother Goddess worship - initiated by the UNESCO Viet Nam. It aims to shed light on the Vietnamese spiritual life and local freedom of religious practice.

Chau Van singing and Hau Dong are pivotal parts of a ceremony to worship Mother Goddess. Followers perform the spiritual singing and dancing to entertain and praise deities. During the performance, they dress up like the deities they sing for.

The Mother Goddess worship was created during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400) and has become part of the Vietnamese spiritual life as a reminder of national history and the great contributions of predecessors and national heroes.

The ritual combines music, singing, dancing, martial arts, cooking and fashion. During the associated trance ritual, mediums serve as ambassadors connecting the material world with the genies.

After the performance, US Ambassador to Viet Nam Ted Osius said he read about the ritual, and found it fascinated to watch it being performed live.

UNESCO Representative in Viet Nam Katherine Muller-Marin stated the Mother Goddess worship lay stress on the women’s roles in society.

Combining different cultural and artistic values, it promotes humanity through demonstrating respect for ancestors, and national contributors, she noted.

In March 2014, Viet Nam submitted a dossier on the Mother Goddess worship to seek UNESCO recognition of the art as invaluable cultural heritage. The file is expected to be assessed in December 2016.

Nam Dinh is among Mother Goddess worship centres nationwide, possessing 287 temples and vestiges relating to the belief.