The first-ever Dong Thap Lotus Festival will take place on May 19-21 at the square of Temple of Literature in Cao Lanh city, which is expected to elevate the position of the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap on the tourism map.
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According to Pham Thien Nghia, Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee, the event will be held provincewide to promote the cultural identity of Dong Thap people and honour lotus flowers, as well as promote cultural and economic values for products made from Dong Thap lotus plants.
The festival, titled “The New Day Lotus”, is also aimed at enhancing lotus farming in association with tourism development. This will help the province build its image and develop local products to attract more tourists and contribute to local socioeconomic development.
According to the organisers, the festival will feature a variety of cultural and tourist activities, including art programmes, a workshop on improving the value chain of Dong Thap products, and a “Lotus in Me” art performance. There will also be networking activities to honour excellent lotus growers, processors, and producers.
In addition will be an exhibition area for One Commune, One Product (OCOP) items, in which guests can enjoy the colorful lotus as well as traditional folk songs.
Within the framework of the festival, there is a space to display cultural, artistic, and calligraphic works from lotus, besides a photo contest and song-writing camp about Dong Thap. The event will also feature a parade of lotus flower vehicles as well as a field trip called “A glimpse of Dong Thap”. During the festival, many beautiful lotus pond miniatures will be displayed on the main roads of Cao Lanh city and at the temple itself.
For the first time, Dong Thap will aim to set a record of making 200 dishes from lotus. Although Dong Thap is low-lying terrain, it is ideal for plants that thrive in the mud and rise above the water. Dong Thap is not only known as one of Vietnam’s rice bowls, but also as the “Land of Pink Lotus” with vast fields. However, few people realise that Dong Thap boasts many rustic foods that are unique and attractive in the western region.
Many inhabitants of Dong Thap know how to use lotus by taking advantage of its beauty, food, and medicinal uses. There are many specialities in the province involving lotus such as seed rice, root salad, grilled snakehead fish, chicken stewed with lotus, leaf tea, dried lotus seeds, wine and much more.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Thuong, director of Dong Thap Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and deputy head of the Organising Committee, Dong Thap has cultivated six types of lotus on an area of more than 360 hectares. It has also invited neighbouring provinces that grow lotus to participate in the exhibition. There will also be more programmes to honor lotus and lotus growers in the future.
“Dong Thap not only leverages the lotus festival to a high level, but is also building a museum at Truc Lam monastery over an area of 10ha in Thap Muoi district, which is home to the largest lotus-growing area in the province,” Thuong said. “We aim to honour the cultural identity of the people and the image of Dong Thap’s socioeconomic development, thereby facilitating the development of local tourism products in the direction of green ecology and sustainability.”
Local people are now making a living from hundreds of products made from lotus. Indeed, lotus accounts for a large proportion of OCOP products in Dong Thap and some localities. The province is currently focusing on developing and calling for businesses to invest in the lotus field, and more attention has been paid to technical aspects to restructure the field to develop more products like technology, varieties, and crops. In the long term, local leaders want to restructure the industry to increase the value of lotus trees, thus contributing to a higher GDP for the province.