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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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In the early 1950s in my house, as well as in every other family’s in Hanoi, there used to be a few glass bottles of boiled water. The boiled water was the water that had been taken from the faucet and boiled up to a very high temperature. [ more... ]
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It was the most beautiful village of the Bahnar I had ever seen, and gloomiest. No smoke from kitchens, laughter of innocent children or sound of women pounding rice with mortar and pestle. Nothing, at noon, except a rooster crowing. [ more... ]
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Công Dồn Village of the Cơ Tu tribe in Zuôih Commune of Nam Giang District in the Southern Central Vietnam province of Quang Nam is in a narrow valley on the Vietnam-Laos border. The stilt houses with the roofs in the shape of a mango. [ more... ]
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It was a couple of years since I had visited Kim Quy Pagoda, the Pagoda of the Golden Tortoise in the rural outskirts of Hanoi. Thay Nhan, the monk, had invited me back there over the phone many times, but I had been reluctant to return, after learning he was knocking the old temple down. [ 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 ...
All of us carry a lot from our pasts as we journey forwards in our lives. I was reminded of this the other day on a visit to a cafe themed around ...
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