BAMBOO IN VIETNAM - AN IMPRESSIVE SYMBOL IN VIETNAMESE’S CULTURE AND DAILY LIFE

Bamboo is not simply a shade tree for Vietnamese people. In fact, it has been associated strongly with both material and spiritual life from generation to generation. Gradually, Vietnam bamboo has become a very familiar image in the daily countryside life of this nation and even risen to the international level.

Table Contents
  • I - Origin and classification of bamboo in Vietnam
  • II - The role of Vietnamese bamboo in culture
  • III - Vietnamese bamboo tree in daily life  
  • IV - Vietnamese bamboo in art
Jan 21
bamboo in vietnam
Source: Derek Lee

I - Origin and classification of bamboo in Vietnam

Bamboo or Bambuseae, listed in the grass family (Poaceae), usually has long green wooden stems with eyelids, white cluster roots and small and thin impervious leaves. Inside the stem is a hollow bamboo tube divided into several segments. Its flowers have a pale yellow color, a strong fragrance and bloom only once every 60 years. They always grow into dust and clusters.

image of bamboo in vietnam villages
Source: Travelvietnam
Currently, there is no official document that mentions the origin of bamboo even though it has appeared in Vietnamese fairy tales and folk stories since thousands of years ago. According to statistics recorded in 2000, Vietnam has more than 70 different types of bamboo scattering across the country. Until 2005, there were more than 190 types of 26 bamboo genera added to this list. 

II - The role of Vietnamese bamboo in culture

The bamboo tree has been associated strongly with Vietnamese people since old times. For instance, it has entered fairy tales, folk songs, proverbs; as well as common materials to create essential objects such as rack, craft, basket, or rattan. Moreover, with Vietnamese people, the bamboo tree is usually considered as the symbol of several virtues namely resilient, tough, and loyal as reflected in the song "Hard bamboo is not afraid of poor soil, the more roots stuck in the ground the more industrious the bamboo is". Those are also the virtues of the Vietnamese people: diligence, eager to learn, solidarity, and adaptability.
Along the Vietnamese history of fighting for independence and freedom, bamboo also reminds the image of Thanh Giong - one of the four immortals. The legend has it that he had pulled a whole clump of bamboo and used it as a weapon to fight against the enemy. Furthermore, locals also used bamboo to make prongs, crossbows, weapons, or even vietnam bamboo traps (also known as booby -trapped stakes) very famous in the history of the Vietnam War which made bamboo trees become more and more essential to the life of the Vietnamese people.

III - Vietnamese bamboo tree in daily life  

Bamboo is extremely familiar to the Vietnamese people. The concept of village bamboo rampart, banyan tree, water well, the communal yard has been stuck-in their minds for generations. Bamboo carries a great meaning not only in the cultural life of the Vietnamese people but also in real life

vietnamese bamboo rice
Source: VnExpress
- Bamboo used to make instruments for performing arts such as bamboo dance Vietnam as well as folk games such as making monkey bridges, swinging ...
- Bamboo stem: used as a tool to cook typical dishes as 'com lam' or used to make traditional music instruments such as flute, T’rưng, khèn,... Besides, they are also sliced up for making crafts, baskets, chopsticks, toothpicks, bamboo cages, bamboo dragonflies, bamboo pinwheels, handicrafts - bamboo, rattan ...and especially bamboo straws Vietnam  , an environmental protection product designed to replace plastic straws
- Bamboo leaves: containing several medicinal properties, therefore, they are used in traditional herbal remedies of ancient times.
- Young bamboo bud, also known as bamboo shoots: used to make several popular dishes such as bamboo shoots salad, fried bamboo shoots,  sour bamboo shoots soup .

IV - Vietnamese bamboo in art

Bamboo is used commonly not only in everyday life but also in art creating unique species bearing Vietnamese cultural identity.
Bamboo house
According to Architecture Magazine of Vietnam Association of Architecture, Bamboo Wing Bamboo House (located in Flamingo Dai Lai Resort) which was designed by architect Vo Trong Nghia has received many prestigious awards:
- In 2011, Bamboo Wing took the International Architecture Awards (IAA).
- In 2012, Bamboo Wing received the FuturArc Prize
- In mid-June 2012, Bamboo Wing won the Green Architecture category - for green buildings of the Good Design Award.
- In 2014, Bamboo Wing received the award from the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA).

project and product from bamboo in vietnam
Source: Internet
Nha tre Ca phe Gio va Nuoc (Cafe Wind and Water)
Due to to the Chicago Athenaeum Architecture and Design Museum, bamboo architecture Vietnam 'Nha tre Ca phe Gio va Nuoc' located at 6 / 28T Block 3, Phu Tho ward, Thu Dau Mot city, Binh Duong province, of Vo Trong Nghia architect, has won the International Architecture Awards 2008 (International Architecture Awards - IAA 2008). This project was inspired by wind, water, and bamboo creating a close bond between humans and nature. 
Bamboo Circus Vietnam show
Bamboo is not only used in life, architectural furniture, but also in performing arts in Vietnam. In a show named "A O show" - a special show of the Vietnamese Bamboo Circus was performed for the first time at the Sydney Opera House in June 2019 bringing Vietnamese artists and arts to a new level.
The special thing is that the main props in the show are bamboo - a familiar item to every Vietnamese. This impressive show surprised the audience with the delicate transformation of the bamboo tree. The content of the performance is not only re-enacting scenes of everyday cultural activities but also conveying to viewers the soul of folk culture through light, sound, and stage arrangement.
- The show "My Village" is also one of the first Vietnamese bamboo circus shows that tour throughout Europe with 300 shows in 9 countries.
- The show “Teh Dar” is the only Vietnam bamboo circus show that honors the culture of the Central Highlands people, which has also traveled across Europe with 40 citites.
Bamboo Walk

vietnam bamboo walk in miss universe competition
Source: Internet
The runner-up of Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 - "Hoang Thuy" took the idea from the image of a bamboo tree to create a unique catwalk performing at Miss Universe 2019. The "Bamboo walk" honored the virtues of the bamboo tree - a symbol of hardness, resilience, indomitable but equally flexible and soft. Furthermore,  the bamboo tree is also associated closely with the Vietnamese who grew up in small villages as Hoang Thuy.
Bamboo in Vietnam is obviously a familiar image in every countryside associated with the childhood of a number of generations. Travelers can easily find the image of bamboo, as well as souvenir products from bamboo while traveling in Vietnam.
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Hi, welcome to Vietnam! I am Bich - a passionate traveler. I do love exploring the amazing beauty of nature and experiencing the rich culture of my beloved country. Having the chance to share all my experience & travel information to you is so great!

— Ha Bich

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