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Vietnamese culture ministry to tighten management of festivals

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 15:03 GMT+7
Vietnamese culture ministry to tighten management of festivals
A chaotic stampede is seen at a spring festival in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is looking to draft a decree on festival management and organization, in response to public complaints about the commercialization and brutality of some local festivities.

The ministry has requested government directions on its initiative, and will unveil the first draft of the decree before 2018 should the plan be given the green light, said Trinh Thi Thuy, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Elaborating on its decision, the ministry said some local festivals have recently been criticized for their violent and offensive content.

Chaotic stampedes, brutal rites,widespread panhandling and price-gouging have been named among the issues yet to be solved of many traditional festivals across Vietnam.

Meanwhile, a lack of legal documentation governing the organization of festivals has posed a challenge to authorities in cracking down on them, the ministry pointed out.

In its upcoming draft decree, the ministry will look to sort current and future festivals into four categories, which are traditional festivals; festivals celebrating historical and revolutionary events; culture, sports and tourism festivals; and festivals originating from other countries.

For traditional festivals, organizers will be required to notify relevant authorities at least 20 days prior to their commencement.

Other festivals will require a permit, and only those without brutal rituals or violence will be allowed.

Applications for a permit must include historical evidence of the origin of the festival, according to the ministry’s plan.

No more than two donation boxes will be allowed at each worshipping site inside any festival ground to avoid commercialization of the traditional activity.

Adequate numbers of restrooms and garbage collection points must also be made available to put up with the expected number of participants.

If the plan is approved by the government, Ninh Thi Thu Huong, a culture official, said.

"The ministry would soon welcome public and expert feedback on the decree’s first draft as early as the end of this year," Huong added.

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