Why do Vietnamese admire Indian culture
The population of Vietnam, with around 76.5 million inhabitants, shows an extraordinary homogeneity: 85-90 percent of all inhabitants are ethnic Vietnamese. Although the Vietnamese have been influenced by Chinese traditions, the struggle for political independence has developed a keen sense of national identity. Through almost 100 years of French rule (1858-1954), the Vietnamese were also under European influence. The family and ancestor worship continue to play an important role and reflect the traditions that have survived.
Different ethnic groups make up the remaining 10 percent of the population. This includes around 1.2 million Chinese concentrated in the south of Vietnam. The second largest minority, the Montagnards (hill tribes) living in the south, comprise two ethnic groups - the Malayo-Polynesians and the Mon-Khmer.
Furthermore, over 30 different minorities live in the mountain regions of Vietnam. A third minority are the so-called Khmer Krom, who used to inhabit the whole of the south, but now only a few provinces near the Cambodian border. It includes around 600,000 people. The Cham, originally immigrated from Indonesia, are the descendants of the once powerful kingdom of the Champa, which was destroyed by the Vietnamese in the 16th century.
The country covers 330,363 km² - so Vietnam is roughly the size of Italy or New Mexico. The country consists of three geographic regions - the tropical south with the foothills of the Mekong, the arid region in the center and the north, which includes the Red River Delta and the mountainous area.
Around 111 BC, the Chinese Han Dynasty expanded its sphere of influence to the south, into the area around the Red River. The following centuries the north of what is now Vietnam was heavily influenced by Chinese culture. This included, above all, the establishment of what was then a modern state and administrative system. The Vietnamese dynasties and the Vietnamese imperial court followed the structural models from Beijing. Chinese foreign rule came to a partial end in 939 AD. The state of Dai Viet (Greater Vietnam) was founded.
The Vietnamese Empire slowly expanded south over the centuries, reaching the Gulf of Siam in the mid-18th century.
A new era in Vietnamese history began in 1858: French troops conquered what is now Danang. Three years later, the Vietnamese Emperor Tu Doc ceded South Vietnam to France. The colony of Cochin China was established. In 1883 the rest of the empire was incorporated into the French protectorate.
In 1930 the Vietnamese National Party tried an unsuccessful uprising. The French repression eventually forced the opposition to turn to the underground resistance - the communists. In 1941 the Communist Party founded by Ho Chi Minh (1930) in Indochina became the freedom movement Vietminh (Independent and Allied Vietnam). They waged a successful guerrilla war and eventually controlled most of Vietnam. The armed fighting ended with the defeat in Diên Biên Phu on May 7, 1954. In Geneva the French agreed to withdraw their troops. The Geneva Agreement created a demarcation line at the 17th parallel: a communist North Vietnam and a capitalist South Vietnam emerged. Between 1959 and 1963, the communist government of North Vietnam steered a course of escalating military confrontation. Over 40,000 North Vietnamese guerrillas are stationed in the south of the country. The so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail, which runs on Laotian and Cambodian territory, serves as the military supply line for the communists in South Vietnam.
The American bombing raids on North Vietnam from 1964 onwards resulted in considerable losses, but did not prevent supplies to the south. At the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, the US had around half a million soldiers stationed in Vietnam. On February 1, 1968, the troops of the National Liberation Army began their large-scale Tet Offensive.
This offensive by the so-called Viet Cong is considered a turning point in the Vietnam War. The US government was no longer primarily interested in winning the war; the foremost goal was to withdraw from a war that was apparently no longer viable. In 1969 negotiations began in Paris between the USA, South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong to withdraw American troops from Vietnam. An armistice was signed in 1973. The last American troops left the country in March.
Two years later, a large-scale offensive led to the occupation of Saigon by North Vietnamese troops. An era of war was over. In 1979 the reunification of North and South Vietnam to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) was officially completed. In 1996 Vietnam became a full ASEAN member.
The first flourishing of Vietnamese art was accompanied by the appearance of the Dong Son civilization on the coasts of Annam and Tonkin between 500 and 200 BC. Ch.
The Chinese influence on the artistic bronze work of the Dong Son cannot be denied: the decorative elements are very similar to early Chinese bronze works. The extraordinary craftsmanship of the production and elaboration distinguishes these works as the first and most beautiful works of art in Southeast Asia. In the museums of Hanoi and Saigon you have the opportunity to admire the huge and magnificent bronze drums.
The golden age of Vietnamese art and architecture was in the tenth and eleventh centuries at the time of the Kingdom of Champa on the Annamite coast. Only twenty of the 250 systems survived the centuries that followed, the two most famous being My Son and Dong Duong.
The pagodas and palaces in Hue and in and around Hanoi are typical examples of Vietnamese art and architecture, although the Chinese influence cannot be overlooked.
Music, dance and theater
The classical theater, called "boi" in Vietnam, shows a lot of similarity to the classical theater in China. Since the division of the country in 1954, a kind of "revolutionary theater" has developed and classical theater hardly exists today.
Water puppet theater
The "mua roi" or water puppet theater is the most common form of classical theater. The themes are mostly based on historical or religious facts, such as the emergence of the Vietnamese nation, legends, village life and scenes of heroism. It is common to use fireworks - especially in the fight scenes - while folk opera singers and traditional instruments accompany the performance. The event often begins with the clown Teu. He is the first to step onto the stage and acts as a link between the scenes.
Vietnam is characterized by a diverse belief structure. The faiths practiced include Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Catholicism and Protestantism, Islam and animism. Together with the frequently practiced ancestor cult, they all form a way of life that permeates the everyday life of the Vietnamese and determines their behavior.
The Tet or New Year festival is the festivity of the year in Vietnam, just as important as Christmas in Europe. Officially, the time calculation in Vietnam is of course based on the Gregorian calendar, as in ours. Festivals and ceremonies, on the other hand, are still based on the Chinese lunar calendar, which has the beginning of the month on a new moon and the middle of a full moon. I. E. Tet is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar to the third day, according to the European calendar around the zodiac sign Aquarius (between January 21st and February 21st).
The Tet festival marks the first day of the new lunar year and at the same time the beginning of spring. Even the preparations for the festival are a festival. Relatives come to Vietnam from all over the world to visit their families, new clothes are purchased and special dishes are prepared. The streets are drowning in a sea of lucky twigs and flowers, special tea markets offer traditional sweets, liqueurs and everything you need to celebrate Tet.
The Tet festival itself lasts three days and officially people have three days off, but usually take longer. If you are traveling as a tourist in Vietnam during this time and have no invitation from a local family, you may find this a very dreary time, because the otherwise hectic pulsating streets are suddenly completely empty and deserted.
Most restaurants, offices and shops are closed all week. Our local agency can only motivate drivers and tour guides to work on these dates with great effort and at significantly higher prices. If you travel during this time, you should also be prepared for higher domestic flight and hotel prices.
In 2020, the date of the Tet Festival is January 25th. In 2021 the Tet Festival will take place on February 12th. (2022: February 1st, 2023: January 22nd).
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