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Vietnam Celebrates Lost Royal Past

Nguoi Viet.com, Posted: Jun 12, 2008

HUE, Vietnam Communist Vietnam opened an international arts festival Wednesday with a parade celebrating the countrys forgotten royal heritage, complete with elephants and hundreds of actors in costume, Nguoi Viet reports. Vietnams Nguyen dynasty was decried as feudal and decadent after the communist victory of 1975, but a generation later, Vietnam is embracing its royal past as part of its ancient culture, and as a major tourist attraction. Artists and dance troops from 23 nations arrived in Hue, the city on the Perfume River that prides itself on being Vietnams cultural capital, for a nine-day festival that has been held here every two years since 2000. In a sunrise procession starting at the world heritage-listed Citadel on Wednesday, 900 actors and high court officials took part in an elephant parade that recreated the ancient Nam Giao ritual. The festivals regal aspect is a sign of changing times for Vietnam, said Michael DiGregorio, program officer for arts and culture at the U.S.-based Ford Foundation, one of the festivals sponsors. Vietnam is now a player in a globalized economy in which it needs to present itself, he said.


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