CUSTOMS AND HABITS

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Village tradition:

Vietnam is endowed with a rich culture formed on the basis of a wet rice civilisation. Thus the life style of the Vietnamese people is closely attached to their villages and native land. However, such villages and native lands are named differently in the spoken and written language of each ethnic group in Vietnam. They are Lang in the Vietnamese language, chieng in the Tay-Thai languages, ban in the Muong language and buon play in the languages of other ethnic minority groups inhabiting the Central Highlands. The Lang (village) is an extremely socially interwoven organisation. It is not only an administrative organisation but also an economic unit based on sections of land on rich farm produce is made. Farmers living in the same village are closely linked by family, neighbourhood or bussiness relations. Thus habits, religious practices and festivals are all based on the formation of the village. Deep in the recesses of very Vietnamese person's memory there never fades images of his or her typical village features. It may be banyan tree standing at the village front gate, or bamboo groves surrounding the village, deep water wells, the roof of the village temple, a far away mountain peak, a river running nearby or may be the paddy fields and joyous bustling village festivals.

Traditional village festival:

Traditional village festival are a great tradition and an indispensable cultural practice in the daily life of the Vietnamese people. Village festival are always held in the front yard of a village temple, a pagoda or the village long house. There are many region or national village festivals of repute throughout the country. Visitors can go to the Central Highlands to enjoy the festive atmosphere of a buffalo sacrifice festival or to Hai Phong port city to attend a buffalo flighting festival inn the Do Son seaside district.

Quan Ho song retical festivals in Bac Ninh, Ha Bac province; boat races and water puppetry festivals in reverie regions; traditional music festivals featuring the classic tuong and cheo, wrestling as well as festivals commemorating national heroes , to cite just a few.

Village festivals are considered a national folklore demonstrating Vietnam's age old customs especially Vietnam's folk literature. Festivals are usually organised in spring when the harvest have ended or the rice transplanting season is complete. It is the time when farmers can relax to enjoy a few days of festivals. Surveys suggest there are hundreds of such village festivals throughout Vietnam. In addition to village festivals are there three national festivals known locally as Tet festivals. They are Tet Nguyen Dan (lunar New Year Festival), Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) and Tet Tao Quan Kitchen God's Celestial Journey Festival).

Tet Nguyen Dan:

To the Vietnamese people this festival is very sacred. The Tet season usually falls on either the second half of the first calendar month, or the early days of the second calendar month of year. This is the time when family members together make food,, fruit and incense offerings on the family altars to commemorate their ancestors. This is also the time for people to visit their neighbours, their friends and relatives.
During the first three or four days of Tet any visitors who is the first visitor to one's house to offer Tet greetings could be considered as the first visitor of the year (xong dat). Their good or bad luck would have a strong effect on the house owner's business success for the coming year. The belief of the xong dat remains very strong nowadays, especially among business people.
Tet days are always regarded as a perfect time for people to enjoy traditional food such as banh chung,a square-shaped sticky rice cake, the fragrance of which alone could strongly provoke one's sense of nostalgia for Tet.