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Besides their functions as a means of travel, transportation, fishing, and communication, boats are also a unique cultural product that is associated with the traditions, customs, and rituals relating to rivers and waterways. Among the more common customs is painting eyes on boats. [ more... ]
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The word ‘snake’ is mentioned in Vietnamese idioms and proverbs, although it is not as popular as fish, tiger, dog, cat or buffalo. ‘Carrying a snake home to strike the chicken’ is a saying used to refer to people who bring home enemy to do harm to their dear and near. [ more... ]
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In Vietnamese Culture, each lunar year is represented by an animal. The year 2013 is the year of the snake. The snake is worshiped as a water deity throughout Vietnam, according to Tran Minh Huong*, who also says snake worship is an ancient Vietnamese belief, and that the snake is regarded as the Vietnamese totem animal. [ more... ]
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The annual Tết festival in Vietnam is an occasion for many different kinds of activities, often involving religious activities of one kind or another. Many Vietnamese people tend to define ‘religion’ in terms of membership of a conventional faith such as Buddhism or Christianity [ more... ]
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Every year, as the pages from my block calendar peel off, bringing me towards another New Year, my mind is once again filled with nostalgia about an old Tết. The Tết in my memory begins with the days of my childhood in a small house nestled under a coconut grove on the outskirts of Bac Lieu Village in the Mekong Delta, Southern Vietnam. [ more... ]
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Every year, on about the 9th or 10th day after Tet, in Tan Phu and Tan Binh districts of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), groups of people who live in the same neighbourhood participate in a ritual that they call lễ cúng xóm or just cúng xóm, literally, ‘hamlet offering’. [ more... ]
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Tintinnabula are articles of decorative musical jewelry that predate written records. Tintinnabula can be made of lead, or iron, but bronze tintinnabula are most prevalent. At the archeological sites of the Dong Son and Sa Huynh cultures, bronze tintinnabula have been found in relatively large numbers. [ more... ]
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At the rice noodle restaurant at No 57 Ngo Sy Lien Street, in Hanoi, I trembled when the owner cursed about _trivial things. I looked back at myself to see if the way I sat, the way I ate, the way I talked were decent enough for her to pass me over. [ more... ]
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In 1956, the National School of Music was set up in Saigon. This school chiefly teaches Western music, but does include a traditional section where pupils are taught to play Vietnamese musical instruments; classes of Western music are far more popular than those in which traditional music is taught. [ more... ]
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The special thing about Huong Canh is its blue clay, the raw material used to make its famous products. This clay is found in the swampy areas, 3-10m ...
A short while ago, I was asked if the Vietnamese fondness for eating snails were a consequence of the former French presence here.
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