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CUSTOMS - HABITS

In general, the Vietnamese are exceptionally friendly and outgoing. Be prepared for many personal questions and comments regarding your age, marital status, and weight. Easy-going people may put these types of questions. Although this may make you believe that the Vietnamese are open people, don't make the mistake of asking too many personal questions. Let the person you are talking with guide the conversation. In fact, because of reputated hospitality, they are warm, helpful and easily ignore mistakes when your behaviour doesn't apply to their standard. Above all, they also know much about the western culture.

It is not unusual to be asked how much something you own costs--anything from a pen to your house back home. Don't worry about being evasive. A simple "I don't know," or "It was a gift" or even a pleasant, enigmatic smile should do the trick.

The Vietnamese get very embarrassed by displays of anger. Their usual reaction is to laugh. This is not because they do not take the situation seriously, but because they don't know how else to respond. It is not a good idea to chastise a person in front of others. This is a culture affected strongly by the concepts of pride and "face." Fortunately, there are no unique gestures that will get you in trouble.

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 kind of clothing that originated from plants and was suitable for such a tropical country as Vietnam, with grey, indigo and black colours. Menís 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.

Vietnam is the country of festivities which take place all year round. The major festivities are Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year), Doan Ngo (double five), Mid-Seventh month, Mid-Autumn Festival, 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 tradesís 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). Coming to Vietnam, you will have a great chance to get accustomed to a rich culture. Religion still takes a very important role in their spiritual life. When you come to worship places like temples, pagodas, etc., it's recommended not to wear so casual clothes. It is not clearly stated, but Vietnamese people may be offended if your way of dressing doesn't show your respect in those places.

Vietnamese people are very helpful. Besides, they are good at foreign languages, so it's a great advantage to foreigners. If you have any troubles, don't hesitate to ask them for a more comfortable stay.

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