Vietnam Custom and Habits

Traditional Vietnamese customs and habits have been formed time to time for thousands of years. This creates a long-lasting culture. Despite of the domination of Chinese and other powers, Vietnamese people still remains their unique cultural identity. If you are having vietnam family tours or vietnam luxury tours, this is a good time to understand traditional Vietnamese customs and habits.

The Custom of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts: According to the legend, this custom was popularized during the Hung Vuong Era, and closely follows the famous fairy tale of the Story of the Betel and Areca Nut. A quid of betel consists of four materials: an areca leaf (sweet taste), betel bark (hot taste), a chay root (bitter taste), and hydrated lime (pungent taste). The custom of chewing betel nut is unique to Vietnam. Old health books claim that chewing betel and areca nut makes the mouth fragrant, decreases bad tempers, and makes digesting food easy.

Custom of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts
Custom of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts

A quid of betel makes people become closer and more openhearted. At any wedding ceremony, there must be a dish of betel and areca nut, which people can share as they enjoy the special occasion. During festivals or Tet Holidays, betel and areca nut is used for inviting visitors and making acquaintances. Sharing a quid of betel with an old friend is like expressing gratitude for the relationship. A quid of betel and areca nut makes people feel warm on cold winters days, and during funerals it relieves sadness. Betel and areca nuts are also used in offerings. When Vietnamese people worship their ancestors, betel and areca nut must be present at the altar.Nowadays, the custom of chewing betel remains popular in some Vietnamese villages and among the old.

Tea – An Indispensable Drink for the Vietnamese: As you walk along the streets, somewhere near a lamp post, under the shade of a tree, or next to a door, there is a low table with glass pots containing different kinds of candies, roasted ground nuts, and sugar coated cakes. Usually next to these treats, there is a humble tea cozy with a tray of cups. Around the table are several small wooden stools. This is traditionally a complete description of a make-shift tea shop, which is a very popular part of Vietnamese street life.

Tea – An Indispensable Drink for the Vietnamese
Tea – An Indispensable Drink for the Vietnamese

The first sentence a customer will utter to the shop owner will invariably be, One cup of tea, please. The owner skillfully lifts the cap of the tea cozy, takes out the tea pot, and then pours the hot tea into a small cup. The owner then hands the cup of steaming tea to the customer. This drink is considered indispensable to every inhabitant of the city. Tea is drunk every day from the early morning until late at night. People drink tea at their homes, at their work places, and even in tea shops on their way to and from work. Whenever the Vietnamese feel thirsty, they are likely to look for this drink. It is drunk in both the summer and the winter months. In the winter, a sip of hot tea makes you feel warm inside and better able to cope with the cold temperatures outside.Unlike northerners, whose preference is for a cup of hot steamy tea, people in the south like to drink their tea cold, tending to add ice cubes.

Tea Hill
Tea Hill

If you pay a little more attention to the surroundings of the average tea table in northern Vietnam, you will probably notice a very old-looking bamboo pipe leaning against the edge of a table or kept inside a wooden box. The pipe is called dieu cay (tobacco water pipe), and it is said to be one of the typical traits of the lifestyle in northern Vietnam. To make a dieu cay, a piece of bamboo pipe up to 0.5 metres in length with an opening at one end is required. A smaller wooden pipe is fixed at the other end and it is here that the tobacco is placed.

A smoker begins by rolling a small amount of tobacco into his hand before placing it into the small wooden pipe. He then lifts the open end of the bamboo pipe to his mouth and lights the tobacco with a burning bamboo stick while smoking. During smoking, one can hear a merry noise inside the bamboo pipe. This is caused by the water contained inside the pipe that is used to filter the smoke.

When the tobacco is completely burned out, the smoker leans his head backwards and slowly exhales the smoke from his mouth in order to appreciate the complete satisfaction and enjoyment that the smoke has to offer.

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