CUSTOMS - HABITS
In general, the Vietnamese are exceptionally friendly and outgoing.
Be prepared for many personal questions and comments regarding your age,
marital status, and weight. Easy-going people may put these types of
questions. Although this may make you
believe that the Vietnamese are open people, don't make the
mistake of asking too many personal questions. Let the person you are talking with guide
the conversation. In fact, because of reputated hospitality, they are warm,
helpful and easily ignore mistakes when your behavior doesn't apply to
their standard. Above all, they also know much about the western culture.
It is not unusual to be asked how much something you own costs--anything
from a pen to your house back home. Don't
worry about being evasive. A simple "I don't know," or "It was a gift" or
even a pleasant, enigmatic smile should do the trick.
The Vietnamese get very embarrassed by displays of anger. Their usual
reaction is to laugh. This is not because they do not take the situation
seriously, but because they don't know how else to respond. It is not a good
idea to chastise a person in front of others. This is a culture affected
strongly by the concepts of pride and "face." Fortunately, there are no unique gestures that will get you in trouble.
The Vietnamese eating habit tends towards vegetarianism. Rice and
vegetables are the main course of the meal that may be diversified by
aquatic products. Boiling is a special way of cooking of the Vietnamese
people. Vietnamese people like a synthetic food processing style that
involves many materials and ingredients. Today, although meat and fish are
the main dishes of the meal, the Vietnamese do not forget pickled egg-plant.
The Vietnamese preferred to wear light, thin, well-ventilated kind of
clothing that originated from plants and was suitable for such a tropical
country as Vietnam, with grey, indigo and black colours. Menís clothing
changed from loin-cloth with bare upper half of the body to short jackets
and Vietnamese traditional trousers (re-designed from Chinese trousers). In
the past, women often wore brassieres, skirts and four-piece long dresses
that were later modified to the modern ao dai. In general, Vietnamese women
adorned themselves subtly and secretively in a society where "virtue is more
important than appearance". Old/time clothing also paid attention to
kerchiefs, hats and belts.
Vietnam is the country of festivities which take place all year round. The
major festivities are Nguyen Dan (Lunar
New Year), Doan Ngo (double five), Mid-Seventh month,
Mid-Autumn Festival, etc... Each region has its own ritual holidays, the
most important of which are agricultural rituals (such as the rituals of
praying for rain, getting down to the rice field, and new rice...) and tradesís rituals (like the rituals of copper casting, forging, making fire
crackers, and boat racing...). Besides, there are also rituals dedicating to
national heroes and religious and cultural services (e.g, Buddhist rituals).
Coming to Vietnam, you will have a great chance to get accustomed to a rich
culture. Religion still takes a very important role in their spiritual life.
When you come to worship places like temples, pagodas, etc., it's
recommended not to wear so casual clothes. It is not clearly stated, but
Vietnamese people may be offended if your way of dressing doesn't show your
respect in those places.
Vietnamese people are very helpful. Besides, they are good at foreign
languages, so it's a great advantage to foreigners. If you have any
troubles, don't hesitate to ask them for a more comfortable stay.