By choosing the city's theme for 2020 as the “Year of promoting cultural activities and building a civilised urban lifestyle”, Ho Chi Minh City once again affirmed its priority in developing culture as the spiritual foundation of the society.
Despite the impacts of the COVID-19, the city’s authorities strived to host cultural activities to entertain residents as well as celebrations of the country’s’ major holidays in line with regulation on controlling the spreading of the pandemic.
The highlight of last year’s cultural events was a cultural dialogue, during which the city’s leaders joined experts and residents to exchange their opinions on problems facing the city’s life and cultural environment.
Opinions gathered at the forum provided a valuable source of information for the city’s leaders in amending and supplementing projects and plans on cultural development in order to safeguard and further uphold the city’s cultural identity.
In addition to contemporary cultural programmes, the municipal authorities have also focused on traditional art forms, which are a source of pride among residents in Ho Chi Minh city and the southern region in general.
The Tran Huu Trang Contest for Talented Cai Luong (Vietnamese reformed opera) Performers 2020 was elevated into a national contest, attracting around about 400 candidates across the country who brought vong co (nostalgic tunes) songs and cai luong plays to the stage.
During the event, which was organised by the HCM City Television and the HCM City Theatre Association in November last year, theatregoers were entertained with sweet melodies of cai luong, a popular folk genre in the southern region.
According to People’s Artist Tran Minh Ngoc Giau, that the 2020 event drew enthusiastic participation from young contestants signals a sign that cai luong will soon thrive again.
Cultural spaces in the city have also contributed to cultivating a civilised lifestyle among residents. Festivals on boosting reading culture have been widely organised across districts, allowing festival goers to pick up interesting books and improve their reading experience.
In 2020, the city’s culture and tourism sector decided to introduce traditional arts to the public at public spaces and tourist attractions in the centre of the city. Despite interruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic, the programme on 'Boi' singing (classical theatre and folk singing) has received much appreciation from the audience every time it is staged at an outdoor space at the city’s Zoo and Botanical Garden.
According to Meritorious Artist Huu Danh from the city’s Boi singing theatre, during the programme, the participating artists have time to exchange with audience to introduce the charm and performing techniques of boi singing, thus providing them with a deeper look into the country’s traditional and unique art form.
The programme has contributed to bringing boi singing and folk arts closer to the people, particularly young audience members.
Throughout its more than three-century history, Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities and people have worked to develop cultural sector, which is identified by the municipal Party’s Committee as a firm spiritual foundation of the city’s society.