The art of Bai Choi

Tuesday - 03/12/2019 04:33
The art of Bai Choi in Central Vietnam was born from the daily activities of local people. Its values was then developed, preserved and promoted by the farmers themselves. In the beginning, people made huts for cultivation and during the time of working, they came up with ways to communicate with each other by singing song or chanty. This activity was gradually developed and turned into a special type of folk theater, an essential and popular cultural activity in the village community across the Central region, containing poetry, music, language, customs, and lifestyle, all are conveyed in a rustic, natural, attractive way that vividly expresses every scene of life or love stories, etc. Usually taking place in the beginning of spring, the art of Bai Choi makes a room for artistic creativity and pratice, as well as preserving regional cultural values.

It takes two main forms including Bai Choi games and Bai Choi performances. Bai Choi games means chanting, singing and playing cards. By region, the music in the art of Bai Choi also changes. For instance, in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, Bai Choi is perfomed slowly and in a simple way; while in Quang Nam, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, the music is gentle, lyrical and very calm; from Binh Dinh to the South, it is strong and dramatic.

Bai Choi is still popularly practiced in Quang Ngai with slight variation to fit its circumstances. Bai Choi clubs are found in Binh Thuan commune (Binh Son district), Quang Phu ward (Quang Ngai city), Pho Thanh and Pho An commune (Duc Pho district), Nghia Phu commune (Tu Nghia district), Duc Chanh commune (Mo Duc district). 

In 2017, the art of Bai Choi in Central Vietnam was recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. A year later, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism announced a National Action Plan to protect and promote Bai Choi in the hope that the art of Bai Choi will be preserved and passed down to the future generations.
Photo: Performance of Bai Choi
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