Cultural and society
Family Life: In Viet Nam’s traditional society, a typical family has three or four generations living under the same roof. With the view of "more children, more fortunes", many families want to have lots of children and grandchildren. Influenced by Confucianism and the feudal view of male preference, men play the most important roles in family and always have final say. Feudal ethics shape women around “three obediences, four virtues” (three obediences: obedience to their fathers during childhood, to their husbands when married and to their sons in widowhood; four virtues: diligence, good manner, proper speech, and morality)
Since reunification, the State of Viet Nam has adopted a number of legal documents, notably Law on Marriage and Family, in order to make family relations more equal. Different measures have also been taken to raise the awareness of the public and change the obsolete attitude, ensure gender equality and fight for the legitimate rights of women.
Today, Vietnamese family size tends to be narrowed down to two or three generations. Most couples have only two children. The advocacy for men's superiority over women is weakening and gradually being eliminated. However, the time-honoured tradition of "respect for the elderly and love for the children" has been maintained and advocated in each and every Vietnamese family.
Costume: Most ethnic groups in Viet Nam have their own costumes that reflect their unique cultural identities. Most of these costumes are decorated with vivid patterns in contrast colours: black-white, black-red, green-red or green-white and made of natural fiber such as ramie, silk, pineapple yarn or cotton. These materials are fine, durable and sweat-absorbing, suitable for tropical climate.
The traditional costume of Vietnamese men was white pants, brown tops with scarf and ordinary sandals or wooden clogs called "guoc". The official costume for men includes velvet or cotton long dress and turban. For women, costumes are more complicated and colourful with black skirt, white brassieres, four-panel dress with "crow-beak" scarf and pergularia-like belt. The official costume includes three layers of dress. The first one is the velvet four-panel dress in dark colour or light brown, then a light yellow dress underneath and a lotus-colored one. Wearing this costume, the woman only fastens the buttons below her underarms, and the upper part is opened to show the three colours of their dresses. Beneath these three dresses is a red brassiere. They wear a special large conical hat called "non", which gives them an elegant look and makes Vietnamese women more graceful.
Today, the official costumes of the Vietnamese people have changed. Suits have replaced the traditional costume of Vietnamese men. The long dress or Ao Dai, which was first worn under Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat's regime, has been modified to better suit Vietnamese women and is used in many important ceremonies of the year. The modern Ao Dai is a tunic slit to the waist with the two loose panels falling down to mid shin. This dress, which is really suitable to the small build of a Vietnamese woman, reveals the hidden beautiful curves of her body.
Currently, with increasing exchanges among different cultures, Vietnamese clothing becomes more diverse and fashionable, reflecting a higher level of integration, especially that of urban youth
Major Festivals: Festivals are typical folklore cultural activities in all regions of Viet Nam. Such festivals bring peace to the heart and mind of the Vietnamese people, wipe out their pressures from daily life, and bring them closer to nature and the motherland. As an agricultural country, most Vietnamese festivals are held during “leisure times”, which are spring and autumn. There are also national festivals for all Vietnamese people, including the Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan), July Full-Moon, August Full-Moon or Hung Kings Festival.
Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan-usually in late January or early February):