Things you should know about Vietnamese culture

Our country Vietnam is full of beautiful customs and traditions. The Vietnamese culture is shaped by lots of beliefs, customs and values.

In my childhood, I got familiar with many of them, taught by my parents. Even, if some of them sound odd or are quite funny, I grew up with those values and customs. And I am sure that many Vietnamese can relate to them. In the following, I will tell you my top 5 that you should know about Vietnamese culture.

1. Elders are respected

When I was younger, I remember my parents took me to many, many Vietnamese get-togethers and home visits. Once I have entered a room, the first thing they always told me, was to greet all people politely according to the their age. The older a person is, the more respect you have to pay to that person. It can be pretty frustrating to obey and follow instructions of the elders all the time or if their opinions carry more weight than yours but that is how the Vietnamese culture works.

2. Ancestors are worshipped

Ancestor worship is commonly practiced in Vietnam and is an integral part of the Vietnamese culture. All Vietnamese have an ancestor altar at their home or even business. The bigger and more splendid it is, the better. Also emigrated Vietnamese in the western world practice that custom, like my parents. On special (holi)days, my mums cooks plenty of food at home in order to serve it together with other offerings on the altar. This was definitely a custom I grew up with and a custom that is important to many Vietnamese.

3. Vietnamese are superstitious

Ghosts and bad vibes are real! There are numerous superstitions in afterlife and spiritual nature. My father believes very much in fortune-telling, palm reading and zodiac signs reading to see the luck in the relationship with family, love life and business matters. Well, let’s see if he was right with the forecast of my future.

4. Transactions are always negotiated

Street shopping in Vietnam is not easy when you are not familiar with the customs of negotiating. Sellers will always try to sell you their goods for a higher price once they realised that you are not a real Vietnamese. I have learned that it can be quite successful to negotiate them down and then threaten to walk away if they will not sell to

5. Food is an integral part of the Vietnamese culture

One of the things, I love the most in Vietnam is the food culture. Food is not just food but it is a ritual and a social thing for us. My parents told me always that dinner is the most important meal because this is the time of the day where all family members come together and enjoy their meal with their beloved people. I love the fact that Vietnamese dishes are served on several plates and everyone can take whatever he likes. Sharing is caring!

Lots of love,

Xuan x

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