Bai choi singing or Vietnamese street bingo, which has been recently recognized as the 10th Vietnamese heritage of Intangible Cultural Heritage, is a type of folk art and folk game popular in Central Vietnam, combining music, poetry, acting during the game.

 

Bai choi singing

Bai choi singing – sourced Ministry of Culture, sports & tourism

This traditional recreation form was believed to be firstly appeared & developed in Binh Dinh province in around 17th century. Now, the game is normally seen in Tet Holidays or special occasions in Vietnam. The game contains a troupe of musicians and instruments, nine stilt bamboo huts divided into two rows with 5 or 6 players at each hut. A deck of playing cards is split in half, with one stack distributed amongst the players, and the other placed in the central house. The cards are stuck onto bamboo poles and erected outside the cottages. The stewardship delivers a flag to each cottage, all the while singing song implied the name of 27 minor cards as clues, and then draws a card from the central house. Whoever holds the card closest in value to the game singer’s card wins. The prizes are just small sums, nevertheless, they are significant to the winners as those means a luckiness coming to them.

 

Bai choi 2 - Vietnamese street bingo

Bai choi performance in Hoi An

Nowadays, Hoi An has acted the traditional games out to uphold its cultural identity, therefore, tourists coming to Hoi An also enjoy the nightly performance of Bai Choi singing, one of top 5 things to do in Hoi An. This genre of traditional playing card game has been also favorite activity for tourists while traveling Vietnam in Tet holidays as well as local residents.

 

 

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