CultureMain article: Culture of Vietnam See also: Vietnamese art, theatre, dance, literature, and List of Vietnamese traditional games
Vietnam's culture has developed over the centuries from indigenous ancient Dong Son culture with wet rice agriculture as its economic base. To some extent, the national culture can be seen as part of the Sinosphere, drawing on elements of Confucianism and Taoism in its traditional political system and philosophy. Vietnamese society is structured around làng (ancestral villages); all Vietnamese mark a common ancestral anniversary on the tenth day of the third lunar month. The influences of immigrant cultures – such as the Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien and Hainan cultures – can also be seen, while the national religion of Buddism is strongly entwined with popular culture. In recent centuries, the influences of Western cultures, most notably France and the United States, have become evident in Vietnam.
The traditional focuses of Vietnamese culture are humanity (nhân nghĩa) and harmony (hòa); family and community values are highly regarded. Vietnam reveres a number of key cultural symbols, such as the Vietnamese dragon, which is derived from crocodile and snake imagery; Vietnam's National Father, Lạc Long Quân, is depicted as a holy dragon. The lạc – a holy bird representing Vietnam's National Mother, Âu Cơ – is another prominent symbol, while turtle and horse images are also revered.
The official spoken and written language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, currently written in the Latin alphabet. However, Vietnam is believed by historians to have had established a distinctive linguistic culture before the invasion of Chinese dynasties, including a syllabic writing system named Khoa Đẩu.
In the modern era, the cultural life of Vietnam has been deeply influenced by government-controlled media and cultural programs. For many decades, foreign cultural influences were shunned, and emphasis was placed on appreciating and sharing the culture of communist nations such as the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba. However, since the 1990s, Vietnam has seen a greater exposure to Southeast Asian, European and American culture and media.
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Famous quotes containing the word culture:
“Culture is the suggestion, from certain best thoughts, that a man has a range of affinities through which he can modulate the violence of any master-tones that have a droning preponderance in his scale, and succor him against himself. Culture redresses this imbalance, puts him among equals and superiors, revives the delicious sense of sympathy, and warns him of the dangers of solitude and repulsion.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“The higher, the more exalted the society, the greater is its culture and refinement, and the less does gossip prevail. People in such circles find too much of interest in the world of art and literature and science to discuss, without gloating over the shortcomings of their neighbors.”
—Mrs. H. O. Ward (18241899)
“I know that there are many persons to whom it seems derogatory to link a body of philosophic ideas to the social life and culture of their epoch. They seem to accept a dogma of immaculate conception of philosophical systems.”
—John Dewey (18591952)