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Vietnamese Culture: In pictures

Updated on April 17, 2013

Vietnam Culture: Fashion

Vietnam Culture; Fashion
Vietnam Culture; Fashion

Vietnamese culture; past and present fashion

Vietnam is a country exploding with colour and character. The people are delicate in appearance, but hardy by nature. Their small frames and slight figures present a graceful air. The traditional clothes of the Vietnam culture enhance the femininity of women whilst being demure and shy. The fashion in Vietnam has many other Asian influences, particularly in the modern global world, but it is to the traditional dress that modern designers still seek inspiration. The traditional dress for women is called the "Áo Dài", consisting of a high necked, long sleeved close fitting blouse made of long panels, worn over baggy trousers. Decadent and westernised versions of the "Áo Dài" were condemned by the Communists in the 1980's, preferring a baggier more plain version. However in the late 80's it experienced a revival!

Vietnam Culture: Modern fashion
Vietnam Culture: Modern fashion

The "Áo Dài", is still popular today and is worn by most women on a day to day basis. If not, it will always be worn on a special occasion. The traditional colour for the "Áo Dài" is white, but now it is acceptable in many beautiful vibrant colours. The modern fashion of Vietnam often takes on the same silhouette, playing on the traditional delicate frame of the Vietnamese woman. Modernity is expressed through experimental print and embellishment.

Another traditional item of clothing representative of Vietnam culture is the 'Rice hat'. On any journey across Vietnam, these hats will be seen keeping the sun from the Vietnamese skin. Traditionally and still today, they are mostly used for workers in the rice fields during the hot days. They produce an iconic panorama.

Vietnamese Culture
Vietnamese Culture
Vietnam Culture
Vietnam Culture

Vietnam Culture: Food

Vietnam Culture: Food Markets
Vietnam Culture: Food Markets
Vietnam Culture: Markets
Vietnam Culture: Markets
Vietnam Culture: Food
Vietnam Culture: Food

Vietnam Culture: Food

 The food in Vietnam is not always for the faint hearted, but for the majority, it is a riot of flavour. Fresh ingredients from fragrant markets, asian spices and hearty dumplings combine to make food to impress. Eat from the roadside canteens to sit with the locals from a foreign menu; order a combination of different dishes to try some of each, or ask advice from other travellers.

Vietnam Culture: Language

Vietnam Culture: Language

The Vietnamese language isn't the easiest to learn. Whilst travelling you can pick up the simple greetings, but due to the use of Vietnamese characters anything more than this can be hard to decipher. The people are incredibly friendly and usually present a huge smile when you make any attempt to communicate in their language. More often than not, they will happily speak some pigeon English, or will have 'basic' translations to hand. If you can use the video above to lean a few phrases, this will be very well received!

Vietnam Culture: Religion

Vietnam Culture: Religion
Vietnam Culture: Religion
Vietnam Culture: Architecture
Vietnam Culture: Architecture

Most Vietnamese count themselves as having no particular religious affiliation, yet spiritualism and religion still plays a huge part in Vietnam culture. Vietnam has six religions recognised by the state;Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao. The variety of religion and culture is well represented by a wide variety of religious architecture throughout the country.

Vietnam Culture: Religion
Vietnam Culture: Religion

Vietnam Culture: New Year

Vietnam Culture: Celebrations
Vietnam Culture: Celebrations
Vietnam Culture: Chinese New year
Vietnam Culture: Chinese New year
Vietnam Culture: Good Luck & Prosperity
Vietnam Culture: Good Luck & Prosperity

The Vietnamese New Year is called 'Tet'; the first morning of the first day of the new year. The celebrations last for seven days and is one of the most celebrated holidays. The 'Tet' date is decided according to the Vietnamese zodiac and the Chinese year e.g year of the horse.

Preparations for the celebrations start early; people clean their houses to remove bad fortune, rooms are painted and people buy new clothes and shoes. The Vietnamese, like the Chinese believe that what they do on New Years Day decided their fortune for the rest of the year, so families exchange money and gifts and visit temples to prey for good health and prosperity.

The celebrations are colourful, loud and exuberant; Vietnam is worth a visit at this time of year! Just another example of the fascinating and beautiful culture of Vietnam! Go, explore and enjoy!

If you would like to read more about the highlights of Southeast Asia, see my articles on the Temples of Angkor Watt, The Killing Fields, and Sabah and Sarawak.

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