Historically, Vietnam has undergone many wars with some countries all over the world. After each war, Vietnamese culture was influenced by those countries. Especially, China is the huge country, which dominated Vietnam for a thousand years, (countryside, n,d). Thus, it is no surprise that Vietnamese culture has been affected by Chinese culture in many aspects such as calendar, language, religion and food.
The most obvious influence can be seen is the calendar. In Vietnam, there are two different kinds of calendar. First calendar is International calendar, which is counted by the sun’s circulation. Another calendar is counted by the moon’s circulation, which is also known as lunar calendar, (fullmoonphases, n.d). Based on lunar calendar, we have some celebrations such as Lunar New Year, which is also called “Tet” holiday. It is the most important celebration in both countries. Besides that, in August of lunar calendar, Vietnamese have Moon day on 15th, August, which is known as Mid-Autumn festival. In that day, Vietnamese eat moon cakes and children bring lanterns, walking around their neighbors’ houses. Vietnam and China share similarities in celebrations due to the effect of Chinese calendar.
Secondly, the influence of Chinese culture is apparent in Vietnamese language. Because China colonized Vietnam for over a thousand years, the Vietnamese language developed based on Chinese. In the 13th century, “Chu Nom”, which was known as Vietnamese writing, was developed but it was not popular in daily life of Vietnamese, (lonelyplanet, n.d). Until the 15th century, Vietnamese still used traditional Chinese language and after the middle of 20th century, it was superseded by the new, Latin alphabet, (languagetranslation, n.d). However, the greatest influence on Vietnamese language is Chinese language. It is about 60% of the Vietnamese words that can be known as original Sino-Vietnamese, (Chinatravel, 2014). Besides language that Vietnamese use daily, Chinese also affect Vietnamese literature. When people go to high school, they have to study creation and poetics in origin from China. Up to now, Chinese language still exists in Vietnam as a valuable subculture.
Apart from the influences that have been mentioned above, the transformation of religious views is also remarkable owing to China’s domination. Confucianism appeared in Vietnam in the first century by Chinese, when they were dominating Vietnam. “It advocates a code of social behavior that man ought to observe so as to live in harmony with society and attain happiness in his individual life”, (Huynh, n.d). Moreover, this religion has a slight point of view about world beyond and death. Besides that, Buddhism is one of the greatest religions all over the world. It is very popular in Asia, (history, n.d). In the second century B.C. Buddhism was introduced by Chinese and Indian, who came by ocean, (Huynh, n.d). As those religious view dated, they have become popular and developed prosperously in Vietnam, especially Buddhism.
Finally, Chinese also has wide impacts on Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese have rice and vegetable for their mean meals daily. During the time of domination, Chinese people spread their cooking methods to Vietnamese. For example, they taught Vietnamese how to steam and stew in clay pots, (southeastfood, n.d). Furthermore, in some special occasions, both Vietnamese and Chinese people have typical dishes for each celebration. For instance, Lunar New Year is the biggest festival that has tangerines and oranges. It is known as lucky and wealthy fruit.
Nevertheless, Chinese and Vietnamese do not organize tangerines and oranges in fours because this number is believed to have a connection with the death, (chow, n.d). In addition, typical food in Mid-Autumn festival is Moon cake. It is made of flour, pork, egg and a lot of kinds of peas, (chinesefood, n.d). During of this time, Vietnamese usually eat moon cakes and drink tea with their family. It is obvious that thanks to China’ domination, Vietnamese cuisine had a novel and wonderful break-through.
In conclusion, the Vietnamese share many similarities in culture with Chinese because of the domination of Chinese. A thousand years is really such a long time to be colonized. Moreover, when Chinese had dominated Vietnam, they left behind many terrible consequences. For example, many people died and Vietnamese had to live independently during the war, which occurred between Vietnam and China. On the other hand, Chinese directed Vietnamese about language, religions and cuisine in the period of national construction. Up to present, even though Vietnam is a dependent country and about to become a developed country, Vietnamese culture is still influenced by Chinese.
Courtney from Study Moose
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