Culture and Customs of Vietnam (Culture and Customs of Asia)

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Everyone is non-confrontational, because aggression causes both parties to lose face. For the vast majority of minor infringements, a stern glance is enough. When you speak to students in Vietnam, it can be a bit disheartening to hear about how restricted their lives are — but this is the norm. The job market is hyper-competitive, so young people have to be at the top of their classes if they want to have a chance at the best career paths.

There are amazing opportunities in this booming economy, but only for those who put in the work.

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That means long days at school, with tutors and extra classes at night — especially English , which is now a requirement for many students graduating from higher education. Their society is built on Confucian beliefs, where experience and wisdom are highly respected. This means the older you are, the more respect you command. At dinners, the eldest are served first, and at home or work, their opinions carry more weight.

Those were difficult times for everyone in this country. As a foreigner, you need to be careful with this topic — and also when speaking about their colonial past. Shopping in Vietnam is often a battle of subtleties and strategy. They know they have all the advantages. Northern classical music is Vietnam's oldest and is traditionally more formal. Vietnamese classical music can be traced to the Mongol invasions, when the Vietnamese captured a Chinese opera troupe. Central classical music shows the influences of Champa culture with its melancholic melodies.

Southern music exudes a lively laissez-faire attitude.

The set of blowing instruments is represented by flutes and pan-pipes, while the set of string instruments is specified by dan bau and dan day. In the 20th century, in contact with the Western culture, especially after national independence, many new categories of arts like plays, photography, cinemas, and modern art had taken shape and developed strongly, obtaining huge achievements with the contents reflecting the social and revolutionary realities.

Up to , there have been 44 people operating in cultural and artistic fields honored with the Ho Chi Minh Award, others conferred with People's Artist Honor, and people awarded with the Excellent Artist Honor.


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At the start of , there were professional artistic organizations and 26 film studios including central and local ones. There have been 28 movies, 49 scientific and documentary films receiving international motion picture awards in many countries. In Water puppetry a split-bamboo screen obscures puppets which stand in water, and are manipulated using long poles hidden beneath the water. Epic story lines are played out with many different puppets, often using traditional scenes of Vietnamese life.

The puppets are made from quality wood, such as the South East Asian Jackfruit tree. Each puppet is carefully carved, and then painted with numerous successive layers of paint in order to protect the puppets. Despite nearly dying out in the 20th century, water puppetry has been recognized by the Vietnamese government as an important part of Vietnam's cultural heritage.

Today, puppetry is commonly performed by professional puppeteers, who typically are taught by their elders in rural areas of Vietnam. Vietnam has 54 different ethnicities, each with their own traditional dance. Among the ethnic Vietnamese majority, there are several traditional dances performed widely at festivals and other special occasions, such as the lion dance. In the imperial court, there also developed throughout the centuries a series of complex court dances which require great skill.

Some of the more widely known are the imperial lantern dance, fan dance, and platter dance, among others. Communication in Vietnam, like other countries in the region, is indirect, based upon rapport and respect, and relies heavily on body language. Showing agreement by saying "yes" shows respect even if the person does not agree with what's being said. For example, one would say "yes" to an invitation even if one does not intend on attending.

The individual would simply not attend. Breaking this rapport or disagreeing is deemed disrespectful. Face facial expression is crucial to Vietnamese, so they are usually very indirect with what they say and usually avoid stating their opinion in case they are wrong. It is considered to be polite if women speak softly when they talk. If they talk with a high volume in their speech, it is considered to be negative. Smiling is often used as an apology. Eye contact is usually avoided. Taboo things in western culture, such as asking about one's age or salary during an initial meeting, is normal.

Storytelling is often used as a form of communication. Vietnamese cuisine is extremely diverse, often divided into three main categories, each pertaining to Vietnam's three main regions north, central and south. It uses very little oil and many vegetables , and is mainly based on rice , soy sauce , and fish sauce. Its characteristic flavors are sweet sugar , spicy serrano pepper , sour lime , nuoc mam fish sauce , and flavored by a variety of mint and basil. Vietnam also has a large variety of noodles and noodle soups. Different regions invented typically different types of noodles, varying in shapes, tastes, colors, etc.

It is often eaten for breakfast, but also makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. The boiling stock, fragrant with spices and sauces , is poured over the noodles and vegetables, poaching the paper-thin slices of raw beef just before serving. Vietnamese cuisine is recognized for its strict, sometimes choosy selection of ingredients. A chef preparing authentic Vietnamese cuisine may incorporate the ingredients provided in these countries, but generally will prefer ingredients native to Vietnam.

In feudal Vietnam, clothing was one of the most important marks of social status and strict dress codes were enforced. Commoners now had a limited choice of similarly plain and simple clothes for every day use, as well as being limited in the colors they were allowed to use. For instance, commoners were not allowed to wear clothes with dyes other than black, brown or white with the exception of special occasions such as festivals , but in actuality these rules could change often based upon the whims of the current ruler.

The headgear differed from time to time. For footwear peasants would often go barefoot, whereas sandals and shoes were reserved for the aristocracy and royalty. Each member of the royal court had an assortment of different formal gowns they would wear at a particular ceremony, or for a particular occasion. The rules governing the fashion of the royal court could change dynasty by dynasty, thus Costumes of the Vietnamese court were quite diverse.

However, certain fundamental concepts applied. In some types of offices e. In daily life, the traditional Vietnamese styles are now replaced by Western styles. Vietnamese martial arts are highly developed from the country's long history of warfare and attempts to defend itself from foreign occupation. Although most heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts , it has developed its own characteristics throughout the millennia in combination with other influences from its neighbours. Vietnamese martial arts is deeply spiritual due to the influence of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, and is strongly reliant on the " Viet Vo Dao " philosophy of Vietnamese martial arts.

It is probably most famous for its scissor kicks. Vietnamese martial arts remains relatively unknown in the world today when compared to its counterparts from China, Japan, Korea or Thailand. However, this is seeing a definite change as schools teaching various styles of Vietnamese martial arts are starting to pop up all over the world, notably in countries such as Spain. Vietnam celebrates many holidays, including traditional holidays which have been celebrated in Vietnam for thousands of years, along with modern holidays imported predominantly from western countries.

These are split into specific categories:. There are a number of other potential world heritage sites, as well as intangible cultural heritage which Vietnam has completed documents on for UNESCO's recognition in the future. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

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Vietnam - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Sat, 28 Jun Last updated Thu, 07 May In the course of development, customs and habits are indispensable spiritual field in Vietnamese culture. It is the original cultural values of the country strongly that define the identity and the long-lastingness of culture in Vietnam. In the entire history of Vietnam , Vietnamese culture is the combination of native culture, cultural exchange with China, Asian region and western countries. Vietnam culture is characterized by a series of unique customs and habits such as worshiping ancestors, chewing betel, and other customs in traditional ceremonies like funeral ceremony, long-life ceremony, etc.

These customs and habits are associated with community of villages, communes.

Vietnam Culture

Vietnam is a country of festivals, especially in spring. Yet, customs and habits of Vietnamese people vary from region to region, and ethnic group to ethnic group. Since thousands of years ago, Vietnamese people have the custom of worshiping ancestors to commemorate their origin. Worshiping ancestors becomes one of traditional Vietnamese customs, ethical norms, and principles. It plays an important role in the religious spiritual life of Vietnamese, especially in the countryside.

In each family, there is an ancestor altar situated at the most respectful position. In special occasions, here is the place where family members worship to pray for best wishes. Traditionally, ancestor altar is located in the biggest room of a house with the display of specialized offerings. Nowadays, owing to the influence of modern life, few houses have ancient ancestor altars.

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These altars might be placed on a panel attached to the wall, even on top of cabinet. Over the time, there is a change in ways of worshiping, but the Vietnamese custom remains its meaning. Wedding custom in Vietnam is quite complicated.

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Before an official wedding of a couple, a ceremony of engagement must be held first. Each family need to prepare a representative who is a family member having a happy life and high-ranking position in the family. In the day of engagement, the representatives of two families will have some announcement about the wedding and exchange gifts.

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