Safeguarding Cultural Diversity in Rural Transformation

9:33:03 AM | 11/7/2023

Economic development and income growth are fundamental to creating resources that can help achieve the goals of the new rural development program. Additionally, preserving and promoting cultural identity is essential to enriching the spiritual life of people.

Ngot villagers are ethnic minorities, mainly the San Diu people, who still preserve their traditional cultural features and identities

It is important to note that new rural development does not entail changing everything. Instead, it involves preserving the “village soul” and promoting local cultural identity. Locally characteristic traditional culture is expressed not only in a synchronous infrastructure system but also in typical space, landscape, identity, village customs, and human characters. These are the core foundations with sustainable values that need to be focused on for achievement in the process of building new rural areas in the future.

Retaining the essence of the countryside

When visiting Ngot village, Hong Giang commune (Luc Ngan district), one can observe the affluence and spaciousness of the village roads, which were once poor. The mural walls on both sides of the road from the village gate to the main roads depict village scenes of banyan trees, wharves, and communal house yards. All 4.4 km of winding roads around the village are concreted, and all orchards are luxuriant. With the attention and engagement of the Party and authorities at all levels and the consensus of villagers, Ngot village was certified to meet model new rural development standards in 2019.

Duong Van Trinh, Secretary of Ngot Village Party Cell, stated that among all model new rural development criteria, they attach special importance to preserving traditional culture as it is the driving force and fulcrum to implement other criteria. The most important cultural identity of all is neighborly affection and solidarity. Therefore, when authorities at all levels mobilized people to donate land for road construction and give money for common projects, people always strongly responded and supported. In addition, people strictly followed village regulations. When a family has a funeral or happy event, its neighbors always come early to help.

All Ngot villagers are ethnic minorities, mainly the San Diu people. Traditional cultural features and identities are still preserved. The San Diu people have a lyrical Soong Co melody. To pass it on to the next generations, in 2022, the village established the San Diu ethnic cultural preservation and development association with 23 members. The oldest member is 80 years old, and the youngest is 39 years old.

Bac Giang province follows central and provincial resolutions on culture, focusing on sustaining cultural identity in rural development

In 2023, Ninh Son commune in Viet Yen district decided to build a model rural development commune with culture as the dominant aspect. The locality is well-suited for this purpose, with four ancient Quan Ho singing villages, many artisans, and clubs. The Party Committee and local authorities advocate for the preservation and promotion of traditional cultural values, emphasizing the importance of teaching Quan Ho folk songs to younger generations in schools. This year, Tang Tien, Hong Thai, and Thuong Lan communes in Viet Yen district also decided to achieve model new rural development standards. Each locality chose a prominent field but paid attention to preserving traditional cultural values and improving the spiritual life of the people.

While preserving intangible cultural values, these localities also cared about protecting, repairing, and embellishing their historical and cultural relics. Viet Yen district is reportedly investing in restoring Noi Ninh Pagoda and Thuong Lat Communal House (Ninh Son commune). People and students in Hong Thai commune regularly cleanse and beautify the landscape at Nhu Thiet Temple. When we set foot in many villages, we still see images of water wells, communal courtyards, village gates discolored by time, traditional craft villages, countryside markets, and bustling festivals. All create a picture of rich traditional culture and identity in a modern space with long, wide roads and spacious multiple-floor buildings.

According to the Bac Giang Office for New Rural Development, 149 out of 182 communes in the province have achieved new rural cultural standards. Traditional culture is preserved and promoted to enrich the spiritual life of the people and becomes a driving force for carrying out other movements and campaigns launched by central and local authorities.

Promoting and preserving cultural values

Bac Giang province is committed to implementing central and provincial resolutions on building and developing culture, with a special focus on promoting and preserving sustainable cultural identity in the new rural development process. The province is also working to improve the performance of cultural and sports facilities in communes and villages, reforming working contents close to social life and people’s needs, and fostering public participation in building, managing, and organizing community-based cultural activity models.

To fulfill the goals of central and provincial resolutions, localities have actively studied, collected, and developed research projects to restore, preserve, and promote cultural values of ethnic minorities from literature, arts, and folk games to customs and traditional festivals.

Bac Giang province is actively preserving its traditional cultureculture 

Currently, Bac Giang province has formed many rural and community tourism routes such as Bac Giang City - Area K12 (Tan Yen) - Hoang Hoa Tham historical relic center, Ven village (Yen The district); Bac Giang City - Suoi Mo relic (Luc Nam district) - Fruit gardens (Luc Ngan) - Tay Yen Tu spiritual and ecological tourist area, Dong Cao tourist area (Son Dong). These places of interest welcome tens of thousands of tourists every year. Through this channel, the image of the province is also promoted.

Mr. Do Tuan Khoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, emphasized that to promote traditional cultural values, all levels and sectors need to launch and register cultural titles, promptly praise and reward individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in cultural movements, prevent harmful information, and ensure a healthy cultural environment. When expanding the village cultural space in new rural construction planning, it is necessary to ensure harmonious and sustainable economic, cultural, and environmental development while resolving the relationship between traditional culture and modern culture according to local characteristics.

By Minh Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum