Culture Culture

04/01/2022 - 14:33

Culture passed down

Thanks to the cultural transmission from older generations, young people now begin to recognize and preserve the traditional culture.

Prof. Dr. Thai Kim Lan (in ao dai) is talking to young people about Hue culture

Passing down the traditional culture 

In recent years, Prof. Dr. Thai Kim Lan’s house has become a place for young people to visit. They come to experience the ancient cultural space, to learn about antiques, ao dai, as well as the lifestyle of Hue that Thai Kim Lan is preserving.

As admired by Quang Hoa, a fashion designer, Thai Kim Lan owns quite a collection of royal ao dai and court costume of the Nguyen dynasty, which is a living embodiment of Hue cultural identity. For him, being able to see with his own eyes and touch with his own hands the ancient woven and embroidered artifacts is a rare opportunity to broaden his knowledge and his view. More importantly, Thai Kim Lan is always willing to share her knowledge about the heritage with young people. She is like a “living legacy" of Hue culture and the one who inspires those who are passionate about Hue traditional values ​​like him.

Nguyen Phong, a young designer of ao dai and costume of the Nguyen dynasty from Dong Nai Province, usually meets up with Thai Kim Lan to learn about Hue culture. From his passion for history and court culture, especially ancient costume, he tries to restore the court costume of the Nguyen dynasty.

The knowledge about culture, history, especially court culture which Nguyen Phong has got from Thai Kim Lan and many other cultural researchers in Hue helps him finish his products. His kim khanh, the bai, boi tinh, ao dai Nhat Binh, ao dai ngu than, etc. are living embodiments of the court culture. 

After several decades of settling in Germany, Prof. Dr. Thai Kim Lan returned to Hue spreading Hue culture with activities introducing ao dai, cuisine, antiques, etc., to the community, especially young people. She wants to help conserve the tradition and unique features of Hue.

“Currently, the movement of returning to traditional culture is very strong among young people. During the time I stay here due to the pandemic, I realize that demand in the youth. I received many questions from them about tradition, lifestyle, and costume. Many young people came here to see the “original" ao dai and they were very happy. That is a good signal showing that the youth is preserving identity based on tradition,” said Thai Kim Lan.

In Prof. Dr. Thai Kim Lan’s opinion, young people should not be forced to follow the old way completely. They can go find the old, but add something new to it. From the traditional costume and food, they can adjust to make them look more beautiful and taste more delicious. What our generation needs to do is to pass down the ancient things and encourage the young to learn from them and create new things based on the old, making them applicable in the contemporary life. 

Remembering to preserve culture 

Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, the former Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee and Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, used to talk to students about this issue. 

“Besides teaching knowledge, the school must focus on educating and instilling in students life skills, ethics, history, and culture. Students must not only study, but also have the desire to preserve Hue cultural identity,” stressed he in a conversation with teachers and students of Quoc Hoc High School.

The traditional culture is being preserved and continued by young people

As for ca Hue (Hue singing), with passion and respect for Hue singing, many singers, though still in their student age, such as Le Minh Vu, Phan Duy Khanh, Nhu Quynh, Anh Hong, Anh Tuyet, etc., are able to confidently sit on the mat and sing typical tunes of Ca Hue.

From this space, artisans and artists pass on their skills and passion to young people. More and more young people have come to enjoy chamber Hue singing, which makes old artists believe that Hue singing will be continued. 

Even Hue people living far away from their hometown do not forget to preserve Hue culture. Though born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Ton That Minh Khoi always takes pride in his origin. With his passion for the history and culture of his homeland, Khoi devotes himself to researching the history and court culture of the Nguyen dynasty in particular, and Hue culture in general, including rituals and costume.

In 2017 Ton That Minh Khoi founded the webpage "Thien Nam Lich Dai Hau Phi" specializing in researching court rituals and court culture of the Nguyen dynasty. “Thien Nam Lich Dai Hau Phi" has so far participated in many projects on culture, costume, and court rituals and organized programs introducing ancient costume and ancient customs with a view to spreading the traditional culture to people. 

According to Prf. Dr. Thai Kim Lan, Thua Thien Hue Province and Hue City are doing many things to preserve and promote the traditional culture and identity. That is a good condition for young people to learn about culture and to be inspired to create and participate in the preservation of Hue culture.

In the age of technology, it is impossible to force everyone to hold back time and live completely in the old way. But when possible, it is necessary to organize expeditions or contests in cooking, flower arranging, embroidery, etc., to help cultivate art, aesthetics, and Hue lifestyle in the youth, thereby enrich their souls. Through those activities, young people have opportunities to see, learn, and experience the good old features.

Story and photos: MINH HIEN