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Poet Chiểu’s 200th birthday to be celebrated

Created 07 August 2021
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A proposal for the celebration of Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Đình Chiểu’s 200th birthday anniversary is expected to be approved by the UNESCO General Assembly in November.

Cover of the book Lục Vân Tiên (The Tale of Lục Vân Tiên), a epic poem with 2,076 lines by late poet and teacher Nguyễn Đình Chiểu (1822 – 1888), one of the country’s leading writers in the 19th century. — Photo from HCM City Writers' Association

HCM CITY — A proposal for the celebration of Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Đình Chiểu’s 200th birthday anniversary is expected to be approved by the UNESCO General Assembly in November.

The proposal was written and submitted by Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Chí Bền. It has received support and recognition from Korea, Thailand, Japan and India.

Nguyễn Đình Chiểu (1822 – 1888) was born in Bình Dương District, Gia Định Province (now District 1, HCM City).

He was a patriotic teacher, physician and poet of south Việt Nam in the second half of the 19th century.

After suffering from his mother’s death, he cried too much it hurt his eyes to the irreparable point. He went blind. He opened a small school to teach poor students in Gia Định. He was also a popular medical practitioner who offered treatment for local people.

He later moved to live in Cần Giuộc in Long An Province (now Bến Tre Province) where he died.

Nguyễn Đình Chiểu is best known for his two epics, Lục Vân Tiên (The Tale of Lục Vân Tiên) and Văn Tế Nghĩa Sĩ Cần Giuộc (Funeral Oration for the Partisans of Cần Giuộc).

Lục Vân Tiên was written in nôm (the old Chinese-based Vietnamese script) in 1850s. The work highlights the culture and lifestyle of southern people. Topics of love, loyalty, bravery and fair justice are featured.

The 2,076 line-work is one of the two most celebrated Vietnamese epic poems, along with Nguyễn Du’s Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều).

It is used in textbooks for secondary high school students.

The epic has been translated into many languages, including French, English and Japanese.

It has been adapted into many theatre plays of cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng (classical drama) as well as movies.

Văn Tế Nghĩa Sĩ Cần Giuộc highlights patriotism.

To recognise his contributions to the country’s culture and literature, a temple was built to commemorate the great poet in Bến Tre in 1972.

The temple was recognised as a national relic site in 1990. It was re-built in 2000 on an area of 13,000sq.m where the tomb and monument of the poet are located.

Artists perform in the musical play called Tiên Nga (Fairy Tale), based on Chiểu’s Lục Vân Tiên, staged in HCM City in 2019. — Photo courtesy of the producer

In 2019, the musical play called Tiên Nga (Fairy Tale), based on Nguyễn Đình Chiểu’s Lục Vân Tiên, was staged in HCM City.

The play is about the life of Lục Vân Tiên, a poor student who travels to the capital to take a civil service examination for mandarins. He rescues Kiều Nguyệt Nga, a beautiful woman from a wealthy family, from a robbery. They fall in love but cannot be together because of feudal society's mores.

“The play Lục Vân Tiên left a strong impression on audiences after 60 shows in HCM City, Hà Nội and provinces,” said theatre critic Thanh Hiệp of the HCM City Theatre Artists’ Association.

According to Dr. Bền, UNESCO has commemorated the birth anniversaries of four Vietnamese celebrities, including the late President Hồ Chí Minh, educator Chu Văn An, and poets Nguyễn Du and Nguyễn Trãi.

Poet Nguyễn Đình Chiểu is expected to be the next.

A ceremony to honour and celebrate the poet's 200th birthday will take place in Việt Nam on July 1, 2022, he said. 

Source: VNN

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» Poet Chiểu’s 200th birthday to be celebrated

A proposal for the celebration of Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Đình Chiểu’s 200th birthday anniversary is expected to be approved by the UNESCO General...