About twenty kilometers away from Hanoi, Lim Village of Bac Ninh province is the “hometown” of Quan Ho folk songs, one of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages. In order to enhance and promote the tradition of Quan Ho singing, Lim Festival is eagerly celebrated among local residents as well as pilgrims from every part of the country around the 12th or the 13th day of the first Lunar month.
Originally, Lim Festival aimed to worship Ba Mu, a child of Noi Due hamlet who led her religious life as a Buddhist nun at Lim Pagoda. After acquiring enlightenment, Ba Mu protected all residents within Lim Village from a severe drought. As a result, Lim villagers glorified Ba Mu as their guardian, and the enlightenment date of hers was taken to be the celebration day of Lim Festival. Gradually, the festival has played a vital role in promoting Quan Ho folk songs and become the leading Quan Ho festival throughout the country.
Each year, thousands of visitors come to Lim Village to enjoy skillful dialogues performances between “lien anh” and “lien chi” (male and female Quan Ho singers)—in which the singers must have not only quick reaction but also deep understanding on traditional tunes as well as their cultural and historical background.
Apart from watching performances of Quan Ho, festival goers can experience weaving competitions among the girls of Noi Due hamlet—simultaneously, they weave and sing Quan Ho. Other traditional games such as human chess playing, swinging, and wrestling are also held in the festival.
As normal, ritual stages are always included the indispensable part of Lim Festival—for example: processions and worshipping ceremonies.