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Hat dum in Thuy Nguyen, Hai Phong

8/10/2009 12:00 AM.   5497 views

Dr.Sc. Pham Le Hoa
Dr. Do Lan Phuong
 
Proem
Contributing to collecting, restoring, preserving and promoting cultural traditions of Viet people( Kinh) in northern Vietnam, particularly in the Red river delta, as well as to contribute to restoring, preserving cultural traditional features of the eastern part( looking from Thang Long citadel capital), in a series of popular cultural activities as ca tru, hat dum, buffalo fighting festival and so on, we chose hat dum- the form of singing folk songs in Pha Le( Thuy Nguyen, Hai Phong) as our research subject.
Hai Phong city has 3 dum singing villages/places which are An Hai- Cat Hai, Kien Thuy- Do Son, and Thuy Nguyen. There have been researches on hat dum, among them the book titled “Hat dum in Hai Phong” by Dr. Dinh Tiep is the most outstanding and typical. If you consider the text( lyrics/words) and literary history( the historical context, the formation and development), his work is quite elaborately completed. However, in term of folk culture collecting, the book has not explored the other folk cultural factors which are related to this kind of singing. To understand a living cultural activity/form as this one, we have studied the entire cultural conditions- humanities in Pha Le commune, Thuy Nguyen district, Hai Phong city.
Cultural space
1. Natural socio- economic conditions of Pha Le( Thuy Nguyen, Hai Phong)
1.1. Background information on Thuy Nguyen and Pha Le
Thuy Nguyen is a suburb district of Hai Phong city( over Cam river), the north part borders Quang Ninh province (over Silver Stone and Bach Dang River), the western borders with Hai Duong province and the east borders An Hai district (also over Cam river). Before 1938, Thuy Nguyen was a part of Kien An province, later it became a suburb district of Hai Phong which consists of 34 communes and a town. Thuy Nguyen is a coastal area. In the history of Vietnam, Thuy Nguyen contains in it many vestiges of the original culture such as Trang Kenh pottery (under Phung Nguyen culture, about 2000 B.C.), Viet Khe bronze relics (under Dong Son culture, about 1000 B.C. ), etc. but until XV century, the name Thuy Nguyen still did not appeared in the address book of the state at that time. For example, in Du dia chi book by Nguyen Trai, Thuy Nguyen district was not referred to ... It is easy to understand why, it is because of the shape of the local administrative district in Thuy Nguyen appeared in the XV century, although there had already existed the groups of local residents. To get this, we had to refer to sources of historical data: starting from the XV century, with the policy of expansion to the east,  Tran dynasty conducted Vietnamese immigrants from regions in central area in the Red River delta to Vietnam northeast coastal area, a series of coastal areas belonging to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh (today) to have been explored. Thuy Nguyen was in the progress of this. In addition, the document related to Thuy Nguyen and Pha Le about the formation of regional district, Ha Nam(Yen Hung, Quang Ninh Province) (2) and the similarity in   beliefs between the two districts Thuy Nguyen (Hai Phong) and Ha Nam (Quang Ninh) help us understand the development progress of Thuy Nguyen , including Pha Le.
Pha Le (formerly Pha Le Village under Phuc Le commune) is located in the northeast of Thuy Nguyen district, the northern pat borders Phuc Le commune, southern borders with Lap Le, west of Ngu Lao borders, to the east bordered by the Bach Dang river that locals often called Van Cu river ( the other side of the river is in Ha Nam, Yen Hung, Quang Ninh). Here is the place where the local temple to worship Thap bat tien cong – eighteen genies who first exploited the land can be found. The worship is similar to Ha Nam district’s, Ha Nam has a temple to worship the first Thap that tien cong (later became the first of Thap cuu), which helps us to have the information about the time of formation of the land of Ha Nam (Quang Ninh) and Thuy Nguyen (Hai Phong) as described above.
Besides, according to Dinh family tree which was the biggest family in Pha Le and as the first residents to Pha Le to explore the land. The family’s ancestor was Dinh Huyen Thong who was burried here in 1461.Before the year 1945, Pha Le was one of six villages of Phuc Le commune (which people often referred to as Luc Le) which were Du Le, Nghi Le, Doan Le, Phuc Le, Pha Le, and Lap Le.
1.2. Economic – social conditions of Pha Le
Natural land area of Pha Le is 416 hectares, including 113 hectares for cultivation, land tenure occupies 38 ha area, the remaining are ponds and lagoons (including the area of the part of Bach Dang River Delta in Thuy Nguyen district). Thus, the land for agriculture was not much and it also impacts economic structure of the commune, which combined agriculture with fishing, handicrafts (wood) and traders (by waterway).
Pha Le includes seven villages which are arranged along the river . Current layout village hamlet is not clear by the change of the Bach Dang River: collapse, the extension. Therefore, it is hard to imagine the direction of the local people in general but the houses often turn east towards temple (house) of the village (commune). Boundary between Pha Le and Phuc Le, lap Le are assigned by Hoang Thanh temple which is located at the top of the village and Pha Le’s pagoda and at the end of the village.
Pha Le has the population of 6670 people with 1500 households, the average income is 240.000 VND/month (including the support of overseas Vietnamese), which is quite high compared with other rural areas in Vietnam (4). Pha Le people have exploited the land in many different ways such as rotational cultivation, alternating cultivation, combination of agriculture, fishing industry to exploit the labour force as well as the strength of resources and the environment. Pha Le had a fishing cooperative with 200 fishermen, aquatic-product and seafood produced are mainly for export. The fishermen accounted for only 30% of young workers in fishing industry in this region's economy in the whole but it made the commune’s economy up. On the other hand, the fertility of the land along the river gave Pha Le’s people with high harvest on fruits and vegetables. Being free of agricultural tasks or at storm season, women in Pha Le ran small businesses (such as trading fish or dried shrimp, etc.), men worked as carpenters to make household furniture, cabinet, bed, etc. Another popular secondary job in Pha Le is raising poultry, cattle. Having rich food sources from river and sea, as well as from the seafood trade helped raising in favorable development .Therefore, it helped people in Pha Le increase income and improve their life. As such, Pha Le had a relatively high standard of living in Thuy Nguyen district.
Current residents of Pha Le were mainly farmers, the fishermen occupied only 30% of the youth (most of them belonged to Đinh family’s-the largest in the 5 families here). There were five families: Dinh, Le, Vu, Tran, Nguyen, in which Dinh occupied 60% of the population and there were different family branches as  Dinh Huu, Dinh Van, Dinh Quang, and Dinh Chinh . 
2. Cultural activities in Pha Le
Due to the requirements of  fishing career on the river, the intellectual standard of the people in Pha Le was limited. Most young fishermen gave up their studies, among them the highest intellectual level was at primary school. Only 75% of people at school age in Pha Le attended primary school and only 15% of them attended secondary school. Party and government leaders planned and did a lot of things to improve the  intellectual standard of the people and put it as the top mission out of the local cultural-educational issues, for example, giving cash bonus for learners who pass the university entrance exams, donating textbooks, money and support for pupils to study at secondary school.
Pha Le people also paid much attention to the cultural life of the community by repairing the traditional cultural places such as restoring temples of the village. Their activites also show the memory to the ancestor.
2.1. Relics and cultural-religious forms
2.1.1. Thap bat tien cong Temple : Being rebuilt from the old temple, the temple is in the middle of the rice field near the road joining 3 communes (commune roads) (3 communes are Pha Le, Phuc Le, and Lap Le). According to the legend, Thap bat tien cong were 18 families founded here to explore wetland, built up the hamlet today. People  casted Thap bat tien cong statues and sacrifie in December (1Dec. lunar calendar) with the competent in the village.
Thap bat tien cong Temple is also known as Ba temple,which means: this is a temple to worship the pioneer ancessor of Phuc regions with 3 villages: Phuc Le, Pha Le, and Lap Le. After separation (due to population growth), Thap bat tien cong Temple located in Pha Le, so the other two villages have established their own temples . Thap bat tien cong Templeseems to be the place to worship in Pha Le. At the annual festival ceremony, village people offer sticky rice with a pig head, truncated cone-shaped cake, fruits, etc.
2.1.2. Tam Thanh Temple: located at the gate of the village, where 3 Thanh Hoang saints(Quy Minh Thuong, Phu Ho and Pho Do) are wirshiped. According to Pha Le history 3, this temple was repaired 160 years ago ( the temple were covered with alang grass, now with tiles). Pha Le also kept the titles of the first 6th Tu Duc dynasty (1853) and 33rd Tu Duc dynasty (1880), 2nd Dong Khanh dynasty (1887), 1st Thanh Thai (1889), 3rd Duy Tan  (1909), 9th Khai Dinh (1924). These three saints are also worshipped in Phuc Le and Lap Le.
The record of saints in the Pha Le was lost, the legend that we have collected is all over the oral stories and from the research in other provinces where the people also worship these three saints.
As we know that, Quy Minh saint is seen as the saint of nature- a god of mountain who is worshipped in many areas in the North, especially in the rural areas. According to the legend, Quy Minh was one of the 50 sons of Lac Long Quan. Quy Minh helped Son Tinh defeated Thuy Tinh. People in Pha Le believed that he helped Tran Hung Dao defeated Nguyen invaders on Bach Dang river in the XIII century. In the XVIII, he became a senior saint.
Beside Quy Minh, Pho Ho and Pho Do were the 2 saints of soil. Acoording to the local legend, in the past, this area was forestry and wet , people lived scatted, there was a poor couple. Althought, they had married for a long time, they still had no babies. They lived on fishing, so they had to sleep in tent in turn to look after thir shrimps. One day, it was the wife’s turn, she slept and dreamt about a white big snake which twined around her body. She woke up, the snake disappeared. Returning home, she told her dream to her husband. Having heard that, he said she had to capture snakes to eat. From that day on, there was the snake in her dreams. Then, she was pregnant. After 12 months, she gave birth to two wonderful white babies but there were snake’s scabs on their bodies. Growing up, these two babies became two talent fishermen. They often helped and saved people on the river. There for, people here called them Pho Do, Pho Do whose names means “help and save”. When Tran Hung Dao had the battle on Bach Dang river, they became his solders. They died in a big battle. People could not found their dead bodies. Therefore, they built up a temple to worship them.
 
2.1.3. Pha Le pagoda: located at the end of the village, it was rebuit. The speacial feature of this pagoda is its saint. It is the place where people worship Mau( mother) saint. It is bigger and there are more statues than Buddism worshipped area.
2.1.4. Family’s houses of worship: as mentioned in the begining of section 2, there were 5 big families in Pha Le. The largest one was Dinh family( accounted for 60% of the population), which had 5 family branches: Dinh Khac, Dinh Van, Dinh Huu, Dinh Quang, Dinh Chinh. According to their family record, they came to live here in the XV century( On Dinh Huyen Thong stelea, there was the year of burry 1461). They lived here for nearly 500 years, passing 20- 22 generations( 25 years for a generation), Each family branch had its own house of worship, but they still had to worship in the oldest one which belonged to Dinh Khac branch. Other families as Le, Vu, Tran also had their own houses of worship. However, Dinh family’s one was the most respected and attacted because Dinh family has their familly record. There were strict regulations, rules about wedding, funaral, etc. Unfortuantely, there was no written records. People in Pha Le chose the 6th of Januarry annualy( lunar calendar) as the common day of worship.
 
2.2. Cutural activities in the community
2.2.1. Te mieu ceremony: it is held on the first days of December( lunar calendar)( from the 1st to the 6th ). The first day is Rice-cake ceremony. The fourth day is Bathing ceremony( moc duc), the last day is Long cake ceremony. This cake is prepared carefully by men from the rich families. Its size is big( 30-35 cm long, 10- 15 cm in height). It is made of rice.
2.2.2. Sacrifices ceremony
 People in Pha Le chose 6th January( lunar calendar) to sacrifice, this is a form of family reunion activities to welcome new year. They also offer rice, meat, fruits ... After the ceremony, it is time for family meeting to remind each other how to work together and effectively in the coming year, and write the family record on ‘good persons” of the family .
2.2.3. The spring ceremony(held in spring annualy). In the past, the ceremony lasted from 4th to 10th January yearly. Opening ceremony of a spring day was buffalo offering ceremony. Each year, the village leaders chose a family to raise the buffalo for the village (usually in Dinh clan-and the largest family). The chosen buffalo did not plough, it was fed by male owners only.
After the ceremony, people started activities as wrestling, swinging,chess playing, cock fighting, playing “to tom”( a kind of card game using a deck of 120 cards with 4 players), and especially singing dum( Hat dum). Hat dum started on 6th January( lunar calendar)  after the families had finished the ceremony.
 
 
Hat dum was considered as a kind of love- exchange singing to pray for happiness, abundant crops for everyone in the coming year.  Hat dum was also considered as a good activity to help women in Pha Le get rid of the death, badness, evils so they can remove their masks in this occasions.
At present, Pha Le organizes this festival in 3 days (from 4th to 10th January yearly) and they give up buffalo offering ceremony.
2.3. Popular beliefs –Mask wearing custom
In 1950-1960s, it was very easy for Hai Phong or nearby people to distinguish Pha Le women among others, as if they found in the street a woman wearing mask, regardless of rain or sunshine, day or night, they immediately interfered that the woman was from Pha Le (both Phuc Le, Lap Le). The masks could only be taken offf in the days of dum singing.
It is hard to know exactly when the women started wearing masks like this, people said that it had appeared very long time ago. Studying this, we heard a legend related to it. It was said that there were a lot of dead bodies on Bach Dang river during the war between Nguyen invaders and Vietnamese people. After the war, people here invited a sorcerer to pray for the dead. The  sorcerer asked the dead what they wanted. The dead bodies did not know what to answer and finally they said” Anything is good for us”. Having heard like this, an angry old man cursed “ Give them ....(women’s dirty blood)”. Since then, it became the oath. Therefore, because of  the fear of dead bodies’ spirits, women in Pha Le had to wear masks regardless of rain or sunshine, day or night. 
 
 
Previously, on the other side of the river's is Ha Nam commune(Yen Hung district, Quang Ninh province), people here followed one odd custom which is reflected via the saying:
Phục- Phả bịt má, Hà Nam vá trôn
 (Meaning:
Wearing masks was in Phuc Le and Pha Le, meanwhile, mending new clothes was in Ha Nam )
Although, until now, women in Pha Le  only use scarves as a physical protection against sunlight or wind when working on fields, the villagers still consider "wearing mask was only in our country !..."
3. Hat dum in PhaLe( both in Phuc Le and Lap Le) or masks discovering festival
3.1. According to Vietnamese folk culture dictionary, Hat dum is explained as one activity of the folk culture, with a number of people involved”( 3), we would like to state that Hat dum is a kind of love- exchange singing and all the singings were written in style of six- eight meter to exchange their feelings, emotions, knowledge, experience.
3.2. The origin of Hat dum
As we presented in section 1.1, Pha Le (or Thuy Nguyen) was officially formed in the XV century, therefore, the form of dum singing couldn’t exist before that time ( At this time, Thuy Nguyen was a wild, wet land, with some small group of people living scatteredly). So, the question is “When did Hat dum  appear?”, in other words, the origin and the history of Hat dum  is a complicated matter which a lot of folk music researchers want to find out. We stated the following hyppothesis:
Firstly, studying  the origin of the residents here (especially Dinh family), they are descendants of emigrants from Red river delta, they were farmers - fishermen. They brought with them a form of singing to the new land .... They sang not only to entertain themselves after harvest time but also o wish happiness, prosperousness. In term of this, it was said that Hat dum belonged to fishermen, that is, the fishermen’s singing. Hat dum- Love- exchange singing was originally a common cultural activity in the countryside or rural areas to wish better crops. According to this hyppothesis, Hat dum had its origin in the red river delta.
Secondly, in the process of collecting, participating in a number of Hat dum shows, we have figured out the typical pronunciation of the Middle Vietnam people. For example, the word “s” or question mark(?) or falls (~). There is also the similarity on melody structure between Hat dum and Nghe Tinh’s Hat vi dam (Nghe An and Ha Tinh). This is an open problem proposed to us to find the stem of residents in this place. The migrants had 2 moving time: starting in Middle Vietnam to red river delta, moving red river delta, they settled in Thuy Nguyen. They carried with them their singings to the new land. This has given us a proof of the influence of cultural exchange through trade between the coastal and inland in the northern Vietnam many centuries ago. It is also said that the singings are the results of Hat vi‘s localization.
 3.3. Hat dum festival
Hat dum  festival was held ritght after the spring festival ceremony, on the first days of New Year( lunar calendar) or Tet holiday, following the spring and secrifice ceremonies (on the 4th  and the 6th January). Hat dum is a kind of folk singing which is taken place outdoors, in the village roads, or at the temple’s playground. In this occasion, people often wear formally in ceremonial clothes, that is, men wear black traditional long tunics with cross- front tunel and white pants while women dress four- paneled dresses crafted from quality fabrics like chiffon, satin, brocade.
It was required for the songs to have the specific rhythm and syntax, outline, and singing partyies. The singers must be the same sex/gender, same age, but not from the same family relationships. It is said that singing with the other villagers is the most interesting. One must not be jealous if his woman sings with another man and vise versa ( because they have to hand in hand and sing).
When one sings( especially male singers), he should not choose the differcult/ complicated words to ask his partners. Meanwhile, if the replied singer finds it too difficult to sing back, he can ask his team to help, and they can sing back an forth like that. The singer cannot stop singing at the middle of the song, that is, if he does like that, he will be punished. The punishment is to invite the others to drink or have something to eat.
The songing  is in compliance with the the following singing steps:
- Welcoming (greeting) song
- Inviting (family, invitation to singers’ homes)
- Asking  (the topics are about nature, career, etc.)
- Comparison (comparison between the nature and emotions)
- Love- exchange ( Singers sing to express his feelings, his desire to make friend, to find a sweetheart).
- Parting song (singing to say good- bye).
Male singers start singing first when he wants to make friend, but to ask a riddle, it is the female’s right to start first. As presented in the previous section, in these days, women are allowed to take their masks off. Thus, this festival has another name as “face opening”. Howerver, there are also some girls who do not take off their masks, so there exists interesting making- friend songs..The female singers seem to be interested in those mask-covered partners, so they sing to ask the girls to reveal their faces to join the singing festival. That makes the festival more interesting/fastinating/attactive.
 
Usually , both the male, female parties witness their  "representative" singing in turn.  The first words to sing is the welcoming ones. All the singers sings to greet and introduce themselves in turn. However, the later singer mustn’t repeat the words of the previous one. , It was required for the song to have the specific rhythm and syntax, outline. The proper song included several verses which is basing on 6-8 style or 2 seven-worded sentences and 2 sentences in 6-8 style. Good and creative singers can write his own words and later spread them to their teammates. There is no limit or requirement for the length of sentences or verses, but they must match the meaning with the partner’s words, according to the old artisans. However, to express full meaning, there must be at least one verse( 4 lines/sentences). It is common to find more than one verse songs.
Hat dum songs are so plentiful/rich that there are dozens songs in a catergory. For example, there are dozens songs belong to welcoming styles or question- answer ones, ect. When the two parties are interested in singing, they sing to ask for something borrow like umbrellas, turbans, hats, sashes and so on, which makes the singing activity more interestng, exciting and lively.
3.4. Methods of descending Hat dum
Hat dum is a cultural acivity during spring festival. At this meaningful time of the year, people often organize singing contest and singing festival by which it is natural and effective to keep Hat dum and to descend it to the next generation. Participating in Hat dum festival, the listeners, the young, especially children learn and remember the songs naturally. Then, when they are 15-18, they can sing and join the festival as singers. Besides, one direct way to spread Hat dum is children or the young listen to heir parents singing while they are knitting or weaving or they sing Hat dum as a lullaby. Sometimes, on the fields, farmers sing Hat dum songs to relax and to have fun. In short, Hat dum is descended mainly orally. Thus, lost of songs is a certain. We have not found any official documents on Hat dum songs. Having studied this, we have collected 50 more songs which are different from Dr. Dinh Tiep’s collection.
3.5. The artistic value of Hat dum
Among Vietnamese cultural terms , the term "Hat dum" is often associated with places Thuy Nguyen (Hai Phong). In many documents, books, newspapers and the media,  this term often appears.  However, not many people have a specific concept on Hat dum in Thuy Nguyen (Hai Phong). This problem has many causes on its own. One of the reasons is that from the different viewpoints at different times, the different levels of cultural sicentists (including cultural managers). In the term “Hat dum” (We are unanimous in our support for Dr. Dinh Tiep’s statement.), "dum" here means "dan dum"( means “flocking together),that is,  a group of people gather to participate in singing. In our survey, we found many old artisans who agree with this ponit of view .According to them, the word "dum" here doesn’t mean "a small piece of cloth to pack something inside forf the two parties to exchange while they are singing " as some people perceived.
 
In comparison with other types of folk cultural styles in the area, Hat dum in Thuy Nguyen still has a unique feature. This unique feature does not only lie on the singing forms, but also in its typical tunes. The featured tune does not belong to the typical tunes of Northern folk songs. This makes it an interesting issue for scientists to carry out research.
As we know, the sound forms of this kind of singing is 3 sounds (which is similar to Hat trong quan, hat vi, etc.). The important feature lie in the singing form, in the way the singers add extra-words to ligature, to reinterate. Another extremely important factor is the words which sometimes determine the tunes and tones.
Hat dum in Pha Le has 3 -sound scale, but the pitch’ s interval is interval 4( the lowest).
As we have mentioned, people in Tong Phục called Hat dum as Hat vi.This interferes the  musical level of Hat dum which is at the same level as Hat vi- at the first level, that is, the rhymthm is simple.
Conclusion
1. Thinking on current situation of  Hat dum in Pha Le (Thuy Nguyen-Hai Phong)
Currently, Pha Le people still sing Hat dum but combining new lyrics/words and the old style . People explained that the youth today do not understand the ancient songs, if we want to maintain this kind of singing we have to use the new words. These ancient songs that we have collected are from the old people who still remember and a few of interested people. This is a big issue that we need to think to restore, to promote cultural tradition in general and Hat dum in particular .
2. The young and Hat dum in Pha Le commune
Youth is very proud of the traditional music – Hat dum, but they feel embarrassed if they are required to sing it as they stated that the words/lyrics are backward, difficult to understand. With such awareness, it is very difficult for them to learn and remember Hat dum. Clearly, the form of living of art often associated with adequate social environment and natural environment,  but now, the natural environment, social environment has changed ... for example, the young do not work in fishing field, therefore, it is difficult for them to understand and remember the old words of fishing.
 Currently, Pha Le commune community wants to encourage , so several Hat dum clubs have been established. Every year, Thuy Nguyen invests a large sum of money to maintain the Hat dum. They organize Hat dum singing contest to encourage the young participants.
 3. Suggestions:
3.1. Pha Le is one of the 3 Hat dum singing places in Hai Phong, thus, in order to have a comprehensive view of it, we need to survey, research Hat dum in the other two places: An Hai - Cat Hai and Kien Thuy -  Do Son where Hat dum is popular  in groups of fishermen. Besides, it is necessary to make a research on the comparisons between Hat dum in the Red River delta, between groups of people in Vietnam in the north.
We also know that only Thuy Nguyen organize Hat dum singing contest annually with a number of participants, while as in the other two areas of Hai Phong (An Hai- Cat Hai, Kien Thuy-Do Son ) Hat dum is not popular. Therefore, the study on Hat dum in the two places outside is necessary to have a comprehensive view of this kind of folk songs.
3.2. Suggestions
- Hai Phong’s department of Culture and Information and Thuy Nguyen’s Department of Culture-Information-Sports should invest and support more in Hat dum singing clubs, maintain the training artisans programs.
- They also need to collect the old Hat dum songs; encourage to sing traditional songs in order to  preserve them.
Bibliography
1. Council of Hai Phong history.  Dia chi Hai Phong (Volume 1).Published in 1990.   258 pages.
2. Dang Thu (Editor). Di dân của người Việt từ thế kỷ X đến thế kỷ XIV. History Research Pulletin. Hanoi 1990. 177 pages.
3. Huu Ngoc (Editor). Từ điển văn hóa cổ truyền Việt Nam..The GioiPublisher. Hanoi 1995. 827 pages.
4. Đinh Tiep. Hát đúm ở Hải Phòng. Hai Phong Publisher - 1987. 203 pages.
5. Pham Le Hoa, Do Phuong Lan. The complete surveyed record in Pha Le, Thuy Nguyen, Hai Phong. 1998 - 1999. From personal data.
 
ANNEX(Quote SOME Hat dum songs)
1.      Greeting song
Male:            Rằng người thương ơi                  
Kể từ lập địa khai thiên
Khai thiên mở hội chơi riêng hội này
Mỗi năm thường lệ vui thay
Nức nô cảnh vật vui vầy hội xuân
Hội này là hội thi văn
Mong cho đến hội mà tranh thi tài
Dập dìu ong bướm xôn xao
Cũng như cung bái bước vào tần cung
Tiếng đàn tiếng hát giao tâm
Vui này nào kể mấy đông nào tày
Nhất vui hội trần vui thay
Vui sao bằng đám hội này chơi xuân
Kìa tài tử nọ giai nhân
Dập dìu ong bướm hồng quần xôn xao
Gái thời trang điểm má đào
Trai thời phong nhã lược thao gồm tài
Mong cho đến hội thái lai
Trước thăm cảnh Phật sau thời chơi xuân
Hội này là hội thi văn
Kẻ hòng cướp giải kẻ tranh giật lèo
Rằng duyên kết bạn người thương ơi!
 
Female:           Duyên kim cải là ngãi loan vàng
                        Hôm nay em mới gặp chàng thì sao
Gặp chàng phải hỏi phải chào
Ở đây em biết người nào là quen
Thôi chào ông chánh ngồi trên
Chào ông lý trưởng đương quyền trong dân
Lại chào cả ông trương tuần
Ông tổng, ông lý việc dân việc làng
Lại chào khắp cả hội làng
Hôm nay em được gặp chàng ở đây
Gặp chàng má đỏ hây hây
Răng đen nhưng nhức tóc mây rườm rà
Lẽ thì em cũng ở nhà
Nhưng ruột em nóng vậy là chàng mong
Hôm qua đốt ngọn đèn chong    
Bắt một quẻ độn chàng mong tức thì
Vậy nên em phải ra đi
Nhà em công việc có khi nào rời
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
2. Inviting song
Female:                Miếng trầu em têm tối hôm qua
                     Miếng cau bổ vội mang ra mời chàng
Trầu này thật nớ trong hàng
Không bùa, không thuốc, sao chàng không ăn
Chàng ơi nghĩ thế sao đành
Mời chàng hãy cố cầm ăn miếng trầu
Cơ hàn mới nhớ được lâu
Không ăn nói trước quên sau ra gì
Ăn vào nó nặng như chì
Nó nhẹ như bấc lấy gì trả ơn
Lấy gì công báo nghĩa đền
Cho vui lòng đấy kẻo phiền lòng đây
Trầu thậm cay mời chàng cầm lấy
Khẩu trầu này biết mấy nhiêu cau
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
3. Asking song
Female:                Cái gì năm múi, năm khe
                             Quả gì dẹp dẹp như đe thợ rèn
Quả gì kẻ ước người ao
Cái gì sáng tỏ như sao trên trời
Cái gì ăn đủ năm mùi
Cái gì bé nhỏ có người ngồi trong
Cái gì trạm bốn chữ rồng
Cái gì cùi trắng nước trong hỡi chàng
Cái gì xanh đỏ tím vàng
Cái gì ăn phải dạ càng ngẩn ngơ
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
Male:               Rằng người thương ơi!
                       Quả khế năm múi năm khe
Bằng bằng hẹp mép như đe thợ rèn
Quả mận kẻ ước người ao
Ngọn đèn sáng tỏ như sao trên trời
Quả lê ăn đủ mọi mùi
Gừng tàu bé nhỏ có người ngồi trong
Quả chuông tạc bốn chữ đồng
Quả dừa cùi trắng nước trong hỡi nàng
Hòn đá lăn lóc giữa đường cái đi
Quả mít thì nó xù xì
Quả mơ tháng bảy ta thì ăn chơi
Dù già sít đến rụng rời
Còn các thức quả ăn chơi trong nhà
Quả chuối thờ mẹ kính cha
Quả cau nàng bổ cho ta ăn cùng
Chỉ ngũ sắc xanh đỏ tím vàng
Bùa yêu ăn phải dạ càng ngẩn ngơ
Duyên kết bạn người thương ơi!
 
4. Performing in unison song
 Female:        Cá khôn nó ở bể sâu
 Chim vàng cá vạn đỡ đầu lạch chương
 Cá mòi nó ở sông trường
 Cá rô, cá gáy ở miền đầm ta
Cá trê, cá gáy mại cờ
Ởđầm nước ngọt lượn ra lượn vào
Chàng hỏi em nói thấp cao
Em xin hoạ hết thứ cá ở đà cửa sông
Cá mòi, cá đé, cá ong
Cá thiều, cá vống chàng trông cho rành
Kia như con cá lành canh
Con tôm rảo quẩn ở đầm chẳng sai
Kìa như con bơn, con trai
Con thu, con nụ ai ai cũng bì
Cá lợn có chân biết đi
Cá gầu, cá dớn vì thì cũng hay
Cá bống nó ở bãi lầy
Cá bớp ngày dầy nó ở rừng đông
Cá lóc thì nó to răng
Cá nhạch trong lỗ biết chăng hở chàng
Chàng nói thì em xin thưa
Em xin kết nghĩa cương thường vãng lai
Cá thì em đã hoạ rồi
Chim đâu chàng họa một bài mà nghe
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
 Male:                Cá thì em đã họa rồi
                    Chim đây anh họa một bài cho nghe
Đại bàng chim tán ghê thay
Phượng hoàng chim yểng đậu cây ngô đồng
Chèo bẻo ít thịt nhiều lông
Diệc ma cao cẳng nàng trông cho tường
Chim đỏ với lại chim xanh
Diều hâu cắt cắt là phường bất nhân
Tháng ngày lượn khắp xa gần
Thấy gà nó đớp kiếm ăn chăng là
Diều hâu lỉnh kỉnh trả hoa
Trả hồng trả sắt cũng là trả tranh                                 
Chim Quí linh ra điều ăn sáng
Thứ chim luôn chẳng đáng mấy đồng
Còn như chim phượng, chim công
Còn thứ chim cú ai dùng làm chi
Chim Bồ Các với chim Trả Qui
Sáng ăn vườn mận tối đi vườn đào
Chim Bồ Các với chim Chào Mào
Sáng ăn vườn mận tối vào vườn mơ
Giống cò đen ngẩn ngơ ghềnh núi
Đứng một mình chẳng nói ai hay
Cò trắng Cò bợ ngày dày
Còn thứ Cò Lửa cùng dày cò thơ
Đi ăn đêm mới là giống Vạc
Bởi vì chúng đánh bạc thua cò
Cho nên Vạc phải đi mò thâu đêm
Suốt năm canh Vạc kêu khắc khoải
Đến mùa hè Quốc lại cầm canh
Bồ Cu, Cút Cút, Rành Rành
Chim Yểng đỏ cẳng Vàng Anh, Vịt Giời
Cu Dang, Cu Kếu bay khắp mọi nơi
Còn thứ chim giời anh họa phải ra
Sáo Đen, Sáo Sậu, Sáo Bà
Còn thứ Sáo Đá cũng là chim Ri
Chúng nó bé bỏng biết gì
Ở nhà xay thóc giã gạo vậy thì giỏi giang
Chim Yểng biết nói rõ ràng
Còn thứ chim Nhạn bay ngang giữa giời
Chim thì anh đã họa rồi
Gì hay nàng hát mấy bài mà nghe
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
 
5. Weddind song:
Female:                Em là con gái nhà nghèo,
               Thầy mẹ thách cưới những heo mấy gà.
Bực mình em phải nói ra,
Chẳng heo chẳng lợn chẳng gà làm chi.
Heo, lợn cũng chẳng làm gì
Chàng mà xin cưới thiếp thì làm cao.
Xin chàng chín tấm lụa đào,
Chín mươi hòn ngọc, chín mươi ông sao trên trời.
Xin chàng chín nén vàng mười,
Xìn chàng chín chục con dơi hoá chồng.
Được thế mới thỏa tấm lòng,
Liệu chàng có cưới được không hở chàng.
Duyên kết bạn tình ơi!
 
Male:               Thấy nàng thách cưới một lời
                        Đêm nằm nghĩ ngợi bồi hồi lo thay
Cưới em chín thúng bạc đầy
Gạo nếp chín thúng rượu tăm mười vò
Nàng thách thì anh phải lo
Cưới em mười lợn ba bò chín trâu
Cưới em mười chín cái cành hoa đào
Chờ cho tiên xuống lọt vào chơi hoa
Của anh vô số để ra
Anh xin kết nghĩa giao hoà hôm nay
Mượn người đi bắt dơi này
Bắt được chín vạn dơi nay hoá chồng
Anh nay thực đã có công
Thách nhiều cưới ít mặc lòng mẹ cha
Dơi này anh bắt hôm qua
Bắt trên mái nhà đức Thánh Tản Viên
Trai anh hùng gặp khách thuyền quyên
Thấy nàng thách cưới anh lên mấy lời
Bắc thang trèo ngược lên trời
Vuốt râu Đại Thánh, áp má mẹ Thiên Lôi cưới nàng
Mỡ ruồi tính được ba ang
Đem về anh chỉ cưới nàng hôm nay
Duyên kết bạn mình ơi!
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