Culture of Vietnam

Due to the fact that Vietnam was occupied by China off and off for hundreds of years and at one point was even a tributary state of China, a large portion of Vietnamese culture is influenced by the Southern Chinese principles of Confucianism, so today Confucianism is a large part of society in Vietnam.

In addition, many of the words that make up the Vietnamese language are borrowed from the Chinese, although Vietnam uses the Latin alphabet unlike China, but the pronunciations are similar. The language also loosely borrows from English and French.

Today Buddhism is the largest religion in the country and follows the Chinese in the Mahayana School of thought, which varies from other northern Southeast Asia countries. Despite these similarities Chinese culture is not responsible for everything in Vietnam however, as Hindu, Khmer, and Champa empires have all helped influence the culture of the land. In addition, the period of French colonization has changed the cuisine of the land as coffee and baguettes are quite popular, which is unique for an Asian country.

For the most part Vietnam is based on agriculture with a particular emphasis on wet rice lands which date back to ancient times. Over the past few centuries China has helped stimulate the cultural development of the country although communism has helped keep the westernization of the nation from occurring.

There are not any specific dressing rules when it comes to young women and men, but many women still wear the traditional Ao Dai garments to school, festivals, and weddings. As a tourist there are no dress regulations to keep, but while in a temple or place of worship it is expected that you will be properly attired with shoulders covered and at least knee length skirts or shorts.

The music of Vietnam differs throughout the three distinct regions, with Trung as the popular music of the Central region, Bac as the popular music of the North region, and Nam as the southerner’s choice. Classical music is still listened to for traditional purposes although today a great deal of the youth in the country enjoys electronic beats and the sounds of the west.

Martial arts are the most popular genre of sporting activities in Vietnam, which may be due to the great civil unrest and spotted history of wars that have occurred throughout the centuries. In addition, football, tennis, and ping pong are also popular activities. At the moment women’s volleyball is very popular and draws in a reasonable viewing audience. Due to a growing presence of a Vietnam expat community a great deal of Western films, sports, and activities are now also popular in the country.