1,000 French people in Lorient city attend "Tet Thang Long" event

More than 1,000 French citizens participated in exploring traditional Vietnamese games, calligraphy and cuisine on the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The event, titled "Tet Thang Long" was organised at the National Conference Centre in Lorient city of Morbihan province, Bretagne region of France on February 11 — the second day of Lunar New Year 2024.
 Art performances promoting Vietnamese music. (Photo: organising board)
Art performances promoting Vietnamese music. (Photo: organising board)

This was the first time that the people of Lorient and the Morbihan region participated in a large-scale event steeped in Vietnamese culture.

The event was organised by the Vietnam Bretagne Sud Association, in collaboration with the Lorient City Council and the Art Space Association. The artistic programme was curated by artist and musician Hoang Thu Trang, a Vietnamese expatriate in France.

Fabrice Loher, mayor of Lorient city (fifth, left) took photos with the organisers and guests

Fabrice Loher, mayor of Lorient city (fifth, left) took photos with the organisers and guests

Local authorities attended the event, including Fabrice Loher, mayor of Lorient; Laurent Duval, mayor of Languidic; Patrice Valton, mayor of Larmor-Plage; and Pascale Douniou, deputy mayor of Quimperlé.

This is the first time an event related to Vietnamese culture has been organised on a large scale in Lorient, with over a half day of activities to help people better understand the colourful and culturally rich history of Vietnam.

From calligraphy art booths and traditional games to special Tet dishes promoting Vietnamese cuisine and a lion and dragon dance troupe consisting of eight lions, everything was meticulously prepared and enthusiastically presented to the French public attending the event.

A performance performed by French and Vietnamese children born in France.

A performance performed by French and Vietnamese children born in France.

A special highlight of the event was the artistic programme with 15 outstanding performances to promote Vietnamese music and art to the French audience.

The programme brought together nearly 100 volunteers and amateur artists from various cities in France such as Paris, Nantes, Rennes, Laval, Toulouse and Lorient to participate.

The selected performances were elaborately staged, colourful, and clearly demonstrated the fusion of traditional and modern art, from the Hon Sen Viet and 'Beo dat may troi' dances to songs imbued with the atmosphere of spring such as Spring Melody, Tet has arrived, and Happy as Tet.

Especially, the collection of 'Ao dai' by Belgian-Vietnamese designer Ella Phan was also presented by French and Vietnamese girls on stage.

The Tet Thang Long art programme brought many unique and unforgettable experiences to the French people in Lorient and the Morbihan region.

One of the most popular highlights was the choir consisting of 50 French and Vietnamese members in France of all ages, from students to retirees, who have a deep love and affection for Vietnam.

After two months of intensive training leading up to the performance, the French-Vietnamese choir mastered the song "Trong com" in Vietnamese, which was presented to an audience of nearly 1000 at the event.

A performance in the programme.

A performance in the programme.

In addition, the choir also performed the French song "Le monde nous appartiendra," with a section of the lyrics being translated into Vietnamese by musician Hoang Thu Trang, bringing surprise and excitement to everyone.

Dalilah Flécher, a French resident living in Lorient and a member of the choir, said: "I haven't missed a single rehearsal in the past two months, I even listened to and practised singing the song "Trong Com" many times at home to pronounce it more accurately. I love Vietnamese culture very much, and I have many Vietnamese friends. For me, singing in Vietnamese at a major event like Tet Thang Long is a wonderful experience. You know, I even wore a Vietnamese áo dài that I cut and sewed myself on stage."

Another impressive performance was by the traditional music band Mam Tre from Rennes, with nearly 20 members including both Vietnamese and French, many of whom are second-generation Vietnamese-French born and raised in France.

The traditional music band also included French members playing bamboo flute or ethnic drums.

Mai Palier, member of the organising committee and vice president of the Vietnam Bretagne Sud Association, said: "Tat Thang Long is an opportunity for overseas Vietnamese in France to look back at their roots and share their longing for their homeland, and affirm the solidarity of the nation."

"It is also an opportunity for us to proudly introduce the unique features of Vietnamese culture to the French public, as well as to connect and exchange between Vietnamese generations and international friends," she said.

"Many French audience members have expressed their desire to visit Vietnam and explore its cuisine, music and traditional customs after participating in our Tat Thang Long programme.", she said.