Vietnam is a place where many cultures, religions, beliefs, rituals and people meet and take a colorful and united form. Located in Asia, Vietnam combines people from many ethnicities and countries of the world. Due to its affordable cost of living and lovely climate, people from all across the world have shifted base to Vietnam. Infact Vietnam is considered one of the best places to retire and due to this reason, more of foreigners are settling down here.
photo credit: (http://www.vietnamese-culture.com)
Some of the religions which are observed in Vietnam are Buddhism, Hoa Hao, Christianity, Cao Dai and Islam. The ethnic makeup of this country consists of Chinese people, Vietnamese people who constitute about 85% of the population, Cham, Thai, Khmer, Hmong and several mountain groups as well.
Culture in Vietnam
Vietnamese culture is quite different from the Culture in other Asian countries and countries across the world. The Vietnamese follow a system known as Confucianism. This system describes the position of each Vietnamese individual in the society. This system has its stress on loyalty, duty, honor, respect for age and respect and sincerity for seniority. The Vietnamese people give a lot of importance to family and family values.
photo credit: (http://huntnewsnu.com)
For them, their life revolves around family and one may even find extended or joint family system in this country. It is not uncommon to find three generations living together in the same house. According to the Confucian tradition, the father is considered the head of the family and is supposed to provide for food, security, clothing and shelter to other members of the family.
On a more general basis, Vietnamese believe and act according to collectivism. In this country, every individual comes second to a group and one must act to save face of the group before thinking about self interest. Vietnamese people follow certain etiquettes in public places and one does not display affection for a person of the opposite sex in the public. Here, one does not touch the other’s head and pass items using both their hands.
photo credit: (http://www.vietnamonline.com)
According to Vietnamese culture, one cannot point his/her finger at someone else or cannot stand with hand on the hip in public. Infact shorts are only allowed on the beach in Vietnam and wearing them otherwise is taboo. If you are a tourist visiting Vietnam or new to the country, then you must remember a few things when invited to someone’s house for dinner. It is polite to bring fruits, flowers or sweets to the host’s house. Always remember to wrap the gifts in colorful paper and do not present anything black in colour.
People in Vietnam
Vietnamese people are influenced by many different cultures and foreign influences. These people are also known as Kinh people and are an aristocratic ethnic group. The Vietnamese people, as a single ethnic group constitute one of the largest ethnic groups in the world with a total population of 77 million. Vietnamese people are a mix of different cultures, languages and historical backdrops. Vietnam is one of South East Asia’s most heavily populated countries with a total population of 92500000 people. 31% of these people live in the urban areas like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi which is the capital.
photo credit: (http://talkvietnam.com)
People of Vietnamese are generally hard working and very close to their families. They are respecting of elders and have a strong sense of duty and hierarchy. The largest minority group of Vietnam is Chinese. The Chinese immigrated to Vietnam during the 17th and the 18th centuries and were earlier quite independent of the Vietnamese. But as time passed by, these people mingled and merged with the Vietnamese and became one Unit.
There are two other minority groups in Vietnam and these are Cham and Khmer. Both these minority groups live in the lowlands. The Cham group is the descendents of the Champa Kingdom which was in existence thousands of years ago. Now there are only close to 40000 Cham people left and mostly work as farmers and fishermen. The Khmer people on the other hand are descendents of Cambodians and are mostly found in Mekong Delta and the Ho Chi Minh City.
Some other residents living in Vietnam include of those who live in the mountainous regions. This group is called Montagnards and migrated to Vietnam thousands of years ago. There are many other groups living in mountains and some of them include Tai, Nung, Meo, Yao, Muong and Tay. Tay is the most numerous group of the north and their counterparts in the south are denoted as Rhade and Jarai people. Both these groups are descendants of the nomads who came to live in the coast in the second or third millennia BC.
Vietnamese people as well as the several minority groups have created a certain unique culture and society. They have stuck to their heritage and created a beautiful example for other people and cultures in the world.