Vietnam Time

1/18/2018 10:00:01 AM

Hanoi's Temple of Literature calligraphy festival to open

(VNF) - The 2018 Spring Calligraphy Festival will officially open at Literature Lake (Ho Van) - a special national relic of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) in Hanoi on February 9th.

The annual festival aims to reproduce and honour the value of the Tet custom of calligraphy with the hope of bringing health, prosperity and good luck.

This year’s event, lasting until February 25th, comprises many exciting activities such as live calligraphy demonstration; hands-on experience of Vietnam’s traditional crafts; folk games and cultural activities.

Calligraphy is a symbol of the nation's cultural beauty and continues to attract visitors despite being an annual activity.

The festival sees the participation of approximately 60 individuals who are capable of writing Sino-Nom (Chinese characters and Vietnamese ideographic script derived from Han Chinese) calligraphy. The Vietnamese calligraphy club members are from Hanoi and other provinces.

Only those who pass a qualifying test are eligible to join the activity, which will be strictly monitored by the organiser to ensure no overcharge or rip-off.

A Tet tradition

People are seen flocking for "ong do" (calligrapher)'s calligraphical words.

Apart from shopping for food, clothing items and floral embellishments for the upcoming Tet, many also choose to buy and hang calligraphical works which have long been an indispensable Vietnamese tradition in Tet (Lunar New Year).

Calligraphical works are those featuring stylised words in Vietnamese, Chinese and even English or any other language that one’s heart desires.

The words, which are mostly with educational and literary meanings, are written in a special kind of ink and with a brush.

Those trained to write the words are called “ong do” (calligrapher) who are usually senior in age and dressed in male “ao dai” (traditional long gown) and headdress. A number of “ong do” are in their 20s or 30s, however. 

People typically come to see “ong do” before, during and after Tet and have them write the calligraphised words on different kinds of paper in return for money.

“Ong do” generally sat on the sidewalk in some streets in Hanoi, but this year around 60 ones will gather in tents erected inside Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam, which is believed to be the country’s first university.

Tet will begin on February 14th this year, with festive activities lingering on around one week after that./.

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