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Buffalo fighting festival may lose national heritage recognition
Hoang Phong
Friday,  Jul 14, 2017,14:26 (GMT+7)

Buffalo fighting festival may lose national heritage recognition

Hoang Phong

The traditional Do Son buffalo fighting festival in the northern city of Haiphong could be taken out of the list of national intangible cultural heritages, says a Vietnam News Agency report.

The report quoted a report which the Department of Grassroots Culture has sent Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien as saying that the Department of Cultural Heritage is responsible for inspecting security and safety measures at the festival which was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2012 by Thien’s ministry.

If no strict safety measures are guaranteed for the festival, the event may disappear from the list of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages. 

Earlier, the government of Haiphong ordered a suspension of the festival after 47-year-old Dinh Xuan Huong from Van Huong Ward in Do Son District was gored to death by his own buffalo on the opening day of the festival on July 1.   

The man had ten years of experience in taking care of buffalos and bought the beast for over VND100 million (US$4,400) a year ago, local media reports.

Leaders from the Department of Grassroots Culture suggested a seminar be held to seek comments from State agencies, culture experts, historians and the public to decide whether the buffalo fighting festival should be kept or not. 

The festival is an entertainment and traditional religious activity as the winning animal will be slaughtered and offered as a sacrifice to pray for bumper crops and fishing.

The shocking death of the buffalo owner on July 1 was the first in over four decades, raising public concerns over the safety of traditional festivals in the country.  

Such festivals are an indispensable part in Vietnamese cultural life but how to guarantee safety is important.

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