Self-Reflection on Vietnamese Culture

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Self-awareness is an initial step to understand the variations of cultures. It could help an individual to realize the essentials of his or her own culture that are usually neglected in daily life. In this essay, I would like to explore the Vietnamese culture under my own reflection and express my opinions about cultural variation discussion in international environments. At first, there is a variety of important factors that influenced Vietnamese culture but family is the most important point. In fact, a typical Viet family includes grandparents, parents and children living together under a same roof. The number of children in family is often high due to the old concept that more child more laborer. It could be easy to understand because Vietnam is an agricultural civilization based on the cultivation of wet rice. Although this situation is changing in urban areas, it still exists in rural regions where farming takes the primary role in people's income. Vietnamese people also have a close relationship with their relatives. They are frequently living in a same village or commune in order to support each other. Moreover, they try to have a good relationship with their neighbors because of an old saying “Sell far relatives and buy close neighbors”. In a typical Viet family, children are taught to be well-behaved and respectful towards their parents, grandparents and relatives. In terms of the relationship with other siblings, they have to be in accord and love each other. Because of that, loving people is one of specific characteristics of Viet. When natural disasters such as hurricanes that hit Vietnam annually happen, not only Vietnamese people living in their homeland but also overseas Vietnamese donate and help their fellows. Another significant role that helps to form the Vietnamese culture is religion. In fact, most Vietnamese do not follow any particular religions. Their belief and moral standards are based on Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism principles and mixed with their tradition that is worshiping their ancestors, national heroes and heroines. However, the effects of Confucianism and Taoism cause some prejudices in Vietnamese society, especially about the role of women, such as bad reputation for being a single-mom or marriage arrangements by parents. Christianity, on the other hand, does not have a noteworthy influence on Vietnamese culture because it appeared in Vietnam just a few centuries ago. Despite the fact that the number of Christian in Vietnam is not large, the whole country is still celebrating Christmas as an unofficial holiday; whereas, the same situation does not happen with other Christian holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Easter Sunday. Vietnamese people are comprised by over 54 ethnic groups in which Kinh people takes the largest proportion. The second place is Hoa (Cantonese people) and the third is Khmer. Because of those largest groups, it could be explained easily the reason why Vietnamese culture is influenced by Chinese and Indian. One significant point about Vietnamese culture is that its variation could be divided into two parts that correspond to the north and south. Over 1000 years, China invaded and ruled the north of Vietnam and during that period, the rulers wanted to eliminate Vietnamese traditions and replaced with their own culture. For many centuries, the ancient Vietnam's capital of economics, culture, and education was placed in the north and it could be easy to find many evidences of Chinese influence on Viet lifestyle. Vietnamese used Chinese characters as their writing for a long time. The first university of Vietnam taught Confucianism and Vietnamese's philosophy was based on yin yang, as well as the harmony of five elements. Feng shui also took an important role when constructing a building. Those historical reasons could also explain why there are some conservation and ceremoniousness in thoughts of people coming from the north. Conversely, the south became part of...
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