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‘The statue of Zen master Truong, which had been rebuilt before, had several details wrong. [At one point] I thought I would dismantle the statue, collect the bones, then, based on the skull, restore the original face. I studied this method, used by a Russian, Mr Gherasimo, and I was the first and only Vietnamese to go abroad for further studies in this area. The people in the pagoda and the local government officials did not approve’ - Prof. Cuong [ more... ]
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Dinh Market, at the communal house of Bich La village, Trieu Phong District, Quang Tri Province, in Central Vietnam, runs from midnight to dawn on the third day of the New Year (it begins 48 hours after the start of the New Year). It is not held at any other time of the year. [ more... ]
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I went with my mother to a Buddhist pagoda on Lunar New Year’s Day when I was a child. From very early in the morning I and my brothers and sisters were excited waiting to put on new clothes. We romped along the road to the pagoda. [ more... ]
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‘The sprig can be from any kind of plant, and with or without flowers, with or without fruit, but it must be green, exuberant, with leaves growing densely, symbolising wealth of the sky and earth’ [ more... ]
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Marigolds let me know that Tết, which falls on 3 February this year, is all around. I remember when I was a little boy my grandfather used to buy marigolds, red chrysanthemums, kalanchoes and Dracaena sanderiana, or lucky bamboo, and arrange them in vases on the ancestral altar during Tết, except that on New Year’s Eve the altar was decorated with marigolds alone. [ more... ]
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Every year on the 24th day of the 12th lunar month, six days before Tết, which falls on 3 February this year, my family gets together and prepares to clear the vegetation that has grown around our ancestors' graves since last Tết. We have many ancestral graves, but the biggest ones are those of our great-grandparents. [ more... ]
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Mr Vo Van Toai, of Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, is believed to be able to talk to spirits of the dead and call them to enter one-third-scale clay-and-wood statuettes. When I asked when such a job had come into being in the area, the 70-year-old was quiet for a few moments as if trying to recall a story passed on by word of mouth... [ more... ]
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Mr Nguyen Trung Khanh, 82, from Bai Village, Cao Vien Commune, Thanh Oai District, Hanoi, rides an old bicycle with no brakes with two baskets of bananas to sell more than 25km from his house every day at Ha Dong Market, about ten kilometres from the centre of Hanoi... [ more... ]
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Silkworm cocoon cultivation at Co Chat Village, Phuong Dinh Commune, Truc Ninh District of Nam Dinh Province has long been praised in folk songs for ...
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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