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Vietnam is a developing and agricultural country in Southeast Asia. It is believed to be a simple place with a simple lifestyle. Vietnamese people are thought to be very honest, hospitable, genuine and warm. The Vietnamese customs and traditions have been developed and preserved from the Hung King period for over 2000 years. Vietnamese culture has had great influence for a thousand year, widely known as Chinese Cultural Sphere. The forced labor of its people was used to exploit Vietnam's mines and forests solely for China's enrichment. Chinese's colonization impacts on Vietnamese wedding, Vietnamese Greetings, traditional family values, Vietnamese clothing- ao dai, religion; the betel areca and nut.
In Vietnam, the wedding ceremony is very important and meaningful. It is celebrated by following certain forms. The Vietnamese wedding consists of two parts. On the first day, the groom and a small group of family members and groom's friends go to the bride's home to ask her parents' permission to marry her. They traditionally bring a quid of betel and areca nuts. After the room has made the formal marriage request, the bride's family makes a similar request and put the betel nut on the ancestor's altar. On the second day, there is a celebration after the bride and groom asks their family and gives a performance at an ancestor's altar. [Vietnam Wedding Ceremony, Vietnambudgettour]
Another part of the research conducted focuses on Vietnamese customs such as Vietnamese Greetings. One of the most important rules of politeness is for the youths to show respect to their elders. In everyday life, young people show this respect by using the Vietnamese word "Thua" which stand for "Please" to add a note of homage. When meeting someone older and should always invite seniors to begin eating before they do. They also ask for permission to leave the house and announce their arrival when they return. [Vietnamese Traditional Family Values, Vietnam culture]
The Vietnamese household traditionally followed the extended multi-generational pattern. The parents, their sons and their wives, their children, and unmarried siblings usually constituted a Vietnamese household. In Vietnamese people's opinion, they believe that family is the important and meaningful to them. One family is considered a social unit in Vietnam. People live in a great large family with four generations living together. Everyone in family should respect for parents and ancestors, and that is the special rule in Vietnamese family. The father is the head of family and taking responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter and make important decisions whereas the women are responsible for looking after children and do housework. [Vietnam - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, Kwintessential]
In a patriarchal society, Vietnamese woman had limited rights and took a secondary place in family. Women were brought up according to a strict discipline, and have been traditionally less educated than men. They usually do not enter the job market outside the home. After marriage, woman became housewife and mother. She was expected to be dependent upon her husband, his income for the household, took care of children and even grandchildren, and performed all household tasks. A wife can be unhappy in her marriage; but rather than accepts divorce, the family encouraged her to sacrifice and to endure the difficulties of the marriage for the sake of her children.
The most popular and widely-recognized Vietnamese national costume is the Áo Dài. Áo Dài was once worn by both genders but today it is worn mainly by females, except for certain important traditional culture-related occasions where some men do wear it. Áo Dài is derived from the Chinese Qipao, although it consists of a long gown with a slit on both sides, worn over cotton or silk trousers. Áo Dài is elegant and comfortable to wear. White Áo Dài is the required uniform for girls in many high schools across Vietnam. Some female office workers are also required to wear Áo Dài.
In the early years of the 20th century, Vietnamese men had their hair long, secured in a knot at the nape. When going out, a man would wrap a scarf around his head to cover this chignon. This hairstyle was imported from China, probably during the long period when Vietnam was under Chinese occupation. By the 17th century, however, long hair had become a symbol of Vietnamese identity, since, under the Manchu dynasty, Chinese men had started shaving the front half of the head and wearing the remaining hair in a pigtail.
Today, chewing betel nut is very popular and still widely used in the Vietnamese villages and among the old. The customs of chewing betel nut and areca is unique to Vietnam. According to legends, chewing quid of a betel nut has been a custom since the King Hung period. In Vietnam, a quid of betel is also called trau, which has four elements giving us four different tastes including sweet taste with an areca leaf, hot taste with betel bark, bitter taste with chay root and pungent taste with hydrated lime. Vietnamese elders believe that a quid of betel makes people closer and more openhearted. At any wedding ceremony, a dish of betel and areca nut is crucial because it brings people together on special occasions. Moreover, during festivals or Tet, betel and areca nuts are used to invite visitors and make acquaintances. More specifically, it is also used in offerings. When Vietnamese people worship their ancestors, the altar must have quid of betel and areca nut to show the respects. [Betel Leaf and Areca Nut, Way to travel Vietnam]
The major religion in Vietnam is Buddhism. Buddhism spread first from China to Vietnam's Red River Delta region in approximately the second century A.D, and then from India to the southern Mekong Delta area at some time between the third and the sixth centuries. The Chinese version, Mahayana Buddhism, became the faith of most Vietnamese, whereas the Indian version, Buddhism, was confined mostly to the southern delta region. Ancestor worship was introduced into Vietnam by the Chinese during their long occupation of the country. The practice of ancestor worship is relatively straightforward. Nearly every house, office, and business in Vietnam has a small altar which is used to commune with ancestors. Incense sticks are burned frequently. Offerings are made - fruit, sweets, and gifts. The latter items are paper replicas of dollar notes, motorbikes, cars, houses and so on. After worship, the paper gifts are burnt so that the spirits of the gifts can ascend to heaven for the ancestors to use.
In conclusion, Vietnamese traditions and customs are always on the Vietnamese people's mind. Chinese's colonization has a great influence on Vietnamese cultures. They try their best to conserve and protect the beauty of their culture from the other countries' cultures. Also, to make sure that the beauty of Vietnamese cultures will be more widely understood around the world.
? Vietnamese Traditional Family Values, Vietnam culture [Online], available at:
[Accessed 20th March 2010]
? Vietnam - Language, Culture, Customsand Etiquette, Kwintessential [Online]
[Accessed 20th March, 2010]
? Vietnamese customs and Traditions, Asiarooms [Online], available at:
[Accessed 21st March, 2010]
? Vietnam Wedding Ceremony, Vietnambudgettour [Online], available at:
[Accessed 21st March, 2010]
? Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper, The Ho Chi Minh City Communist Party [Online], available at:
[Accessed 20th March, 2010]