|The Perfume Pagoda festival begins on the 6th day of the first lunar month
A: In his recent correspondence to VOV he wrote: “Hello again from Beijing. Sorry, it's been quite some time since I was last in touch with you. I don't get many opportunities to tune in these days, as my working hours often clash with the time your broadcast is best received in this part of the world.”
B: Mr. Morrison sent us a reception report for a program on March 19 on the frequency of 12020 khz and a program on February 27 on the frequency of 9840 khz.
A: Thank you, Ian, for your feedback on the program. We hope to hear from you again soon.
B: Today we’d also like to welcome back Fachri Fachri of Indonesia who listened to our broadcast on March 16 on the frequency of 9840 khz.
A: Next we’d like to welcome to VOV Samuel Cassio Martins of Brazil. In an email to VOV this week, he sent us a reception report for a VOV program on March 18 on the frequency of 12020 khz.
B: Thank you, Mr. Martins, for tuning in to VOV and sending us feedback on the program. Our programs are also available on the internet at vovworld.vn and on the VOV Media App.
A: This week many Indian listeners shared with us information about the celebration of the Holi – the Festival of Colors – in India. Shivendu Paul wrote: “On March 18th and 19th we celebrated the Festival Doljatra or Basant Utsab (Spring Festival) and Holi – “The festival of colors”.
B: Holi, the Festival of Colors, is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the day of the full moon in the Bengali calendar month of Phalgun (or Chaitra), which is March in the Western calendar.
A: “Holi is also called the Spring Festival in India as it marks the arrival of Spring, the season of hope and joy. The entire country wears a festive look. People get into the spirit to celebrate the festival.
B: Thank you, Shivendu, for telling us about the Spring Festival in India. In Vietnam, a lot of festivals take place across the country early in the lunar new year to welcome the spring. It has become a tradition for Vietnamese people, old and young, to participate in spring festivals to pray for a year of good health, good luck, and prosperity. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the past two years many festivals were cancelled.
A: Traditionally, after Tet, festivals are held in every region, from mountain towns to major cities. It is a time for people to relax after a year of hard work and remember their ancestors, national heroes, and Vietnamese legends.
A: On the 6th day of the first lunar month is the Perfume Pagoda Festival, an extremely important festival to the Vietnamese people. The Perfume Pagoda is the most famous pilgrimage site in Vietnam. Every year it welcomes thousands of pilgrims who make their way to its sacred caves to pray for a happy, prosperous year.
|Thien Tru pagoda in the Perfume Pagoda complex
B: Throughout the three months of the festival, pilgrims travel through a scenic gauntlet to reach the caves. They travel by boat through a picturesque landscape of limestone mountains, traverse rice paddies and historic shrines, and climb hundreds of stone steps to finally arrive at the caves. This year the festival began on February 15th.
B: The Lim festival, which is held from the 12th to the 14th of the first lunar month in Bac Ninh province, is a celebration of Quan Ho folk singing. Local people play traditional games like tug-of-war, bamboo fighting, and wrestling, but the highlight of the event is singing, for which people dress up in colorful traditional costumes and sing Quan Ho folk songs.
A: The Tet Han Thuc (Cold Foods) Festival takes place on the 3rd day of the third lunar month. It’s another occasion for family gatherings and remembering ancestors.
|Banh Troi, Banh Chay - two traditional foods of Tet Han Thuc
B: On that day, all family members, even those who live and work far away, come home to help make “banh troi” and “banh chay”, the two traditional foods of Tet Han Thuc. “Banh troi” are balls of glutinous rice flour with a piece of sugar inside. “Banh chay” are bigger than “banh troi” and have sweet green bean paste inside instead of sugar.
A; After all the preparation has been done, “banh troi” and “banh chay” are placed on a tray and offered on the altar to the family ancestors. Incense is burned to invite the ancestors to enjoy the Cold Foods Festival with the family. When the ceremony has ended, the family eat the “banh troi” and “banh chay” together. “Banh troi” often have some shredded coconut and sesame seeds added. “Banh chay” may be accompanied with a sweet broth.
B: This year, the Cold Food Festival will fall on Sunday, April 3rd. One week after the Cold Food Festival, Vietnamese people celebrate the Hung Kings' Temple Festival, which is held each year from the 8th to the 11th day of the third lunar month to honor the Hùng Kings and their role in shaping the nation.
The main festival day is observed on the 10th, and since 2007 this has been a national holiday in Vietnam.
A: Annually, millions of people converge upon the Hung temple on Nghia Linh mountain in Phu Tho province to commemorate the founding fathers and pray for good weather, abundant harvests, good luck, and good health.
B: The largest ceremony, the Ancestral Anniversary Festival of the Hùng Kings, is celebrated for one week at the beginning of the third lunar month. Communities make offerings of rice-based delicacies, such as square cakes and glutinous rice cakes, and there are folk arts performances, bronze drum performances, Xoan singing, and prayers.
|Hung Kings temple festival (Photo: vietnamdiscovery.com)
A: The practice of worshiping the Hung Kings was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World in 2012.
B: It would take days to talk about all the Vietnamese festivals. Thousands of festivals are held in Vietnam throughout the year. But we will get around to some of them in later programs, so keep tuning in to VOV and check out our website at vovworld.vn to learn more about Vietnam’s many festivals.
A: This week VOVWorld received more than 400 letters and emails from listeners in 34 countries and territories.
B: Fumito Hokamura of Japan wrote: “As a VOV listener, I’m proud to witness the changes in VOV’s programs. With the development of digitization, I hope VOV will continue to maintain its fine values and keep pace with the development.”
A: José Moacir Portera de Melo of Brazil wrote: “I regularly listen to VOV. I really like your programs and hope to have more time to listen to VOV.”
B: Heng Vuthy of Cambodia and many other listeners asked about public bike service in Vietnam.
A: The Hanoi Department of Transport plans to pilot a public bicycle service in some central districts. In the first phase, approximately 1,000 bikes and electric bikes will be available for rent at 70 to 80 points in the city during the next two years.
|Bike for rent in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VOV)
B: In the second phase, which will be implemented from 2023 to 2024, the service will be expanded to surrounding districts, with 3,000 bikes available at 350 points.
A: Last December, a bicycle-sharing service was launched in HCM City’s district 1. A public bicycle rental service, run by Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Transport and the Tri Nam Group, will be carried out as a 12-month pilot program, with 43 stations and 500 bicycles in the central district.
B: The rental fee will be 40 cents per hour. To attract users, the first 15 minutes will be free during the first stage of the program. HCM city plans to create dedicated bicycle lanes to increase safety.
A: Sibunnheung of Laos and other listeners asked this week about Vietnam’s preparations for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games to be held in May.
B: The official song for the upcoming SEA Games 31 was revealed this week at a ceremony to honor last year’s outstanding athletes and coaches. The song, written by Huy Tuan, is called ‘Let’s shine”.
A: The song expresses pride in the culture and people of Vietnam, and highlights sportsmanship as well as the effort needed to achieve success. The lyrics are in Vietnamese, with a chorus in English. The song sends a message of international development, solidarity, and friendship.
|31st SEA Games' official logo
B: A dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Games will be held on May 5. The opening ceremony of the regional biennial games will take place on May 12 at Hanoi's My Dinh National Stadium, while the closing ceremony will be held on May 23 at the Indoor Athletics Palace.
A: The slogan “For a Stronger South East Asia” is meant to send to the people of the region a message of solidarity in building a powerful ASEAN Community and promoting ASEAN’s role in the international arena.
B: The Games’ official logo and mascot have also been introduced. The logo depicts a flying bird and a V-shaped hand. The mascot is based on the saola – a rare animal listed in Vietnam’s Red Book of Endangered Species.
|Bắc Giang Province's gymnasium will host badminton competitions.
A: The 31st SEA Games will be held from May 12 to May 23 in Hanoi and 11 surrounding provinces. 10,000 athletes from 11 countries will vie for medals in 526 events in 40 sports.
B: We have been talking about many topics in this week’s Letter Box. We’d like to thank you all for listening. We welcome your feedback at: English Service, VOVWorld, the Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re invited to visit us online at vovworld.vn, where you can hear both live and recorded programs.
A: Check out our VOV Media App, available on both the IOS and Android platform to hear our live broadcasts. We look forward to your feedback on the mobile version of vovworld.vn. Once again, thank you all for listening. Goodbye.