The Vietnamese eating habit tends towards vegetarianism; rice and vegetables are the main course of the meal that may be diversified by aquatic products. Boiling is a special way of cooking of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese people like a synthetic food processing style that involves many materials and ingredients. Today, although meat and fish are the main dishes of the meal, the Vietnamese do not forget pickled egg-plant.
The Vietnamese preferred to wear light, thin, well-ventilated kinds of clothing that originated from plants and was suitable for such a tropical country as Vietnam, with grey, indigo and black colours. Men’s clothing changed from loin-cloth with bare upper half of the body to short jackets and Vietnamese traditional trousers (re-designed from Chinese trousers). In the past, women often wore brassieres, skirts and four-piece long dresses that were later modified to the modern ao dai. In general, Vietnamese women adorned themselves subtly and secretively in a society where “virtue is more important than appearance”. Old/time clothing also paid attention to kerchiefs, hats and belts.
The old-style Vietnamese house was related to the watery environment (stilted house with curved roof). Then came thatch-roofed houses with clay walls, which were built mostly from wood and bamboo. This kind of house did not stand too high to avoid high winds and storms, and more importantly, the house should face to the South direction to be free from hot and cold weathers. The interior of the house was also not so spacious to leave room for the courtyard, pond, and garden. Also, the Vietnamese thought that “spacious home was no better than sufficient food”. Sizeable ancient architectures were often built shrouded and in harmony with natural environment.
The traditional means of transport is waterways. Ship of all types together with the river and the wharf, are familiar in the Vietnamese geological and humanitarian images.
Vietnamese customs of weddings, funerals, holidays and rituals all are attached to the village community. Marriages not only reflected the lovers’ desire but also had to meet the interests of the family lines and the village. Thus, the choice for future bride or bridegroom was done very carefully, which had to go through many formalities from the plighting ceremony, the official proposal to the bride’s family, the wedding to the marriage tie, the ritual of sharing bridal cup of wine, the newly-weds’ first visit to the bride’s family. Besides, the bride had to pay a fine in order for her to be accepted as a new member of the village. Funeral service is also proceeded very thoroughly to express the grief and see off the relative into the other world. The family of the deceased does not have to take care of the service by themselves, they are also given a helping hand by the neighbours.
Vietnam is the country of festivities which take place all year round, especially in spring when there is little farming work. The major festivities are Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year), Mid-First month, Han thuc (cold food), Doan Ngo (double five), and Mid-Seventh month, Mid-Autumn Festival, Ong tao (the god of the kitchen) etc… Each region has its own ritual holidays, the most important of which are agricultural rituals (such as the rituals of praying for rain, getting down to the rice field, and new rice…) and trades’ rituals (like the rituals of copper casting, forging, making fire crackers, and boat racing…). Besides, there are also rituals dedicating to national heroes and religious and cultural services (e.g. Buddhist rituals). Ritual holidays are usually divided into two parts: the service is carried out for blesses and thanksgivings, the holiday is the cultural activities of the community consisting of many folk games and contests.