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Bamboo in Vietnam

In Construction; Bamboo has long been used as an assembly material in Asia because of its versatility.
Houses made entirely of bamboo is a common sight in parts of Asia. Bamboo, like true wood, is a natural composite material with high strength-to-weight ratio useful for structures

Bamboo, noble and useful

What Is The Role Of Bamboo In Asian Culture?
What about the role of bamboo in Vietnamese culture?
Why does the shoulder pole made of bamboo represent the working life of Vietnamese peasants?
How are bamboo chopsticks made?
How can bamboo become a meal?
How is bamboo used to treat diseases?
How is bamboo used for games?
How does bamboo feature in folk ballads?
How did bamboo help define a traditional village?
How was bamboo used in a traditional peasant house?
How is bamboo used for Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese) musical instruments?
How does bamboo feature among some special musical instruments of VietNam's ethnic minorities?
How are bamboo instruments used in religious ceremonies and in festivals?
How can bamboo enrich the urban landscape?
How is bamboo part of VietNam's artistic tradition?
How is bamboo used in the fashion world?
How did legendary Giong use bamboo to fight foreign invaders?
What is the role of bamboo in Vietnamese military history?
What is the most popular folk tale about bamboo?

Bamboo is a tribe of flowering perennial evergreen plants in the grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family.
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What is the role of bamboo in Asian culture?

The wet-rice cultures of Southeast Asia present a trio of familiar images: rice, water buffaloes, and bamboo.Bamboo is the common name for any of the tall, treelike grasses! comprising the subfamily Bambusoideae of the family Poaceae. Although botanists have identified more than seventy-five genera and a thousand species of bamboo, many names are synonymous. The plants range from stiff reeds about one meter tall to giants reaching fifty meters in height. Most bamboo grows erect, but some varieties appear as vines, producing impenetrable thickets. Bamboo can live as long as a hundred years. The trees flower only once and die after they bear fruit.Asian Culture, a Japanese magazine, has identified bamboo as a symbol of Asian dynamism. However, bamboo is also a symbol of Asia's cultural diversity.

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What about the role of bamboo in Vietnamese culture?

Bamboo is so central to Vietnamese culture that it literally "carries" the most common image for the country. Vietnamese say their country is shaped like two rice baskets hung by strings from a shoulder pole.The "rice baskets" are the Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south. The "carrying pole" is the spine of mountains, the TrUdng Son Range.
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Why does the shoulder pole made of bamboo represent the working life of Vietnamese peasants?

As a foreigner who had just arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, American Edith Shi Hue wrote with excitement about her impression of a woman vendor, who passed her: "She carries the most romantic of Oriental elements, the shoulder pole, and it swings softly from side to side as she makes her way out of the alley." (Earth and Water, University of Massachusetts Press, 1997). French colonial authors, driven by a sense of the exotic, often depicted lines of Vietnamese women walking on the dikes to the rhythmic jounce of their shoulder poles. In the collective Vietnamese subconscious, the bamboo shoulder pole evokes the daily life and work of traditional peasants, their joys and especially their sorrows. In particular, the pole evokes the fate of courageous Vietnamese women resigned to hard work and sacrifice.

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How are bamboo chopsticks made?

(A personal account)
Once, years ago when I was small, I studied Chinese with a Confucian teacher. It was my privilege to follow him almost everywhere. One day, my teacher attended a party to celebrate an elder's old age at the home of a well-known family. At the party, I saw twelve pairs of special bamboo chopsticks.
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How can bamboo become a meal?

Bamboo trees begin to sprout during the seventh lunar month. These sprouts make simple yet exotic dishes. Even connoisseurs are unlikely to have tried the following dish because it is not widely sold. For a family of three, take a kilo of white ntia sprouts that have been peeled, boiled, and soaked in salt water. Boil the sprouts again before tearing them into small shreds.
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How is bamboo used to treat diseases?

Suppose you are in the countryside and find that you're unexpectedly sick. You forgot to bring any modem medicine. Don't worry! Look around! Some bamboo trees nearby may provide your cure. Vietnamese have passed knowledge about these treatments from generation to generation. They are mentioned here only to illustrate how close Vietnamese are to bamboo.
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How is bamboo used for games?

Bamboo Swings

Swings have been a traditional game at village festivals for centuries. Dai Viet sit ky tdan this (A Complete History of Dai Viet), which was written in the fifteenth century, states: "During the Ly Dynasty, in the spring or the first lunar month, boys and girls get together and play this game." The game is most popular in the Northern Delta, especially along the banks of the Duong River in Bac Ninh Province.

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Bamboo Jacks

This girls' game is akin to Western pick-up-sticks. It includes ten thin, sharpened, round bamboo sticks and a ball, which traditionally is a fig, a miniature variety of eggplant, a small rock, or a clod of clay. The player tosses the ball into the air. While the ball is mid-air, she must pick up the sticks and then catch the ball. Players often recite a singsong nonsense rhyme: "Cai mot... Cai mai... Cai co... So mang...
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How does bamboo feature in folk ballads?

Bamboo is so popular that it appears quite often in century-old verses. The following are some examples.
Bamboo in Folk Verses about Courting: Beautiful bamboo grows by the communal house Your beauty makes you stand apart from other beauties.
Or:
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How did bamboo help define a traditional village?

According to archaeological research, the Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese) people left their caves for the midlands and the present Red River Delta in the second millennium B.C. They settled in small encampments close to the river. To protect themselves from wild animals, they encircled their encampments with bamboo hedges. Then they dug trenches around the bamboo hedges for further protection.
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How was bamboo used in a traditional peasant house?

For centuries, houses made with bamboo frames were typical of Vietnam's popular architecture. These traditional buildings, known as "thatched houses with earthen walls," were a common sight in the Vietnamese countryside. Families used the courtyard in front of the house for drying their crops during the day and for family living in the late afternoon. A garden and orchard surrounded the house. Hedges and gates were common in many regions and not just reserved for the well-to-do.

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How is bamboo used for Kinh (ethnicVietnamese) musical instruments?

No one knows when the Vietnamese people started to create musical instruments from bamboo. The most significant clue came with the discovery of the 3000-year-old Dong Son bronze drums, which show Kinh people singing and dancing with a variety of musical instruments in their hands. One of those instruments is the khen, the bamboo panpipe that Vietnamese still use today.

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What does bamboo feature among some special musical instruments of Vietnam's ethnic minorities?

Vietnam has fifty-four different ethnic groups, with the Kinh representing about eighty-five percent of the population. Each ethnic group has its own language and culture, including its own music. The Mon-Khmer of Truong Son Mountain Range and the Central Highlands play all four types of musical instruments.
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How are bamboo instruments used in religious ceremonies and in festivals?

The Gia Rai, Ede and Gie Trieng ethnic groups use two types of dinh tut (aerophone), one for female players and one for males. The women's instrument is smaller. People play the dinh tut only in their fields or communal houses, for they believe the instrument wakes up the soul of the rice and makes the rice grow fast and well. The rice soul is female. If a male player performs the dinh tut, the rice soul will awaken and flee because of shyness. Thus, a man playing the dinh tut must disguise himself as a woman.
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How can bamboo enrich the urban landscape?

In the countryside, bamboo is giving way to modern materials. People build new houses from bricks, rocks, and concrete. They buy furniture made of plastic or wood. However, a reverse trend is happening in urban centers. Now, builders of fancy offices and high-priced houses use bamboo for attractive floors, ceilings, and walls. Many bars and restaurants use bamboo trees and bamboo decor to create a nostalgic ambience. The Gidi (World) Publishers created a staff canteen with rustic bamboo on its top floor. The setting has become so popular that staff and visitors often prefer to meet in the canteen rather than in more formal conference rooms.

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How is bamboo part of Vietnam's artistic tradition?

Mr. Nguyen Kim Xuan's eyes light up whenever the conversation turns to bamboo. He studied forest product processing in Prague during 1972 and returned to Vietnam to work in a factory making wooden furniture. He talks about the bamboo groves of his childhood, the village hedges, the thatched roofs, the furniture, and the window screens. All his life, Mr. Xuan has wanted to work with bamboo. Mr. Xuan lives outside Ha Noi on a side road bordered by a dike, green fields, and the Duong River.

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How is bamboo used in the fashion world?

Are fashion designers in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City getting tired of sophisticated foreign fashion? Sometimes, they turn to the past for ideas including bamboo as a source of inspiration. Bamboo garments and accessories are still new and limited to the catwalk. Here is an example of young models almost completely clad in bamboo attire, with bamboo-decorated dresses, umbrellas, hats, and baskets.

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How did legendary Giong use bamboo to fight foreign invaders?

Long, long ago, Giong was born to a virgin mother who became pregnant after she drank water from large footprints on the rock. She had been working in the fields all day and was extremely thirsty. A strange child, Giong did not speak or smile his first three years. Then the enemy invaded, and Vietnam was losing. The king sent a messenger to recruit soldiers. Giong spoke for the first time, telling the messenger to fetch him armor, a spear, and a horse, all made of iron.
As soon as the messenger left, Giong asked his mother to cook him some rice. He ate and grew, ate and grew. Villagers brought him food and more food. The messenger returned to find that Giong had turned into a giant. Giong put on the armor and jumped onto the iron horse, which sprang to life. He rode out of his village. However, his iron spear broke during the battle. Giong looked around and saw only bamboo. He tore off some bamboo trunks and, using them as fighting canes, defeated the enemy. Then Giong rode off into the sky.

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What is the role of bamboo in Vietnamese military history?

During Vietnam's 3,000-year history, Vietnamese have employed bamboo as a major means in fighting foreign invaders. Bamboo weapons helped determine Vietnamese success in the thirteenth century battle against the Mongols on the Bach Ding River. In 1789, Quang Trung's army marched to Thang Long (now Ha Noi) from Hue in record time because the soldiers traveled without stopping. They divided themselves into groups of three, with two members of each group carrying the third one, who slept in a hammock tied to bamboo shoulder poles. Quang Trung defeated the 200,000-strong invading army of the Qing Dynasty. Between 1886 and 1887, Vietnamese patriots used bamboo walls and spikes at the Ba Dinh Fortress in Thanh Hoa Province to resist fierce French attacks. Vietnamese fought the French for nearly sixty years. In early 1945, the Japanese toppled the French colonial administration. In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's independence in Ha Noi. However, the French were already landing in southern Vietnam. Vietnamese guerrillas fought back with bamboo weapons, including bows and arrows, stakes, and traps.



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What is the most popular folk tale about bamboo?

"The Bamboo with a Hundred Nodes."
Once there was a man as rich as he was evil. He never missed an opportunity to exploit his servants. His avaricious practices enabled him to amass the largest fortune in the region. The master's youngest child, a daughter, was not married. Khoai, one of the servants, had no family and had worked since his childhood for the rich man. The master feared Khoai might leave and find work elsewhere. When Khoai was almost eighteen, the master called him aside, saying, "If you work hard from morning to night, I'll give you the hand of my youngest daughter." Khoai, as naive as his master was crafty, worked eagerly for three years, tending to all the household tasks. Meanwhile, the master's daughter, Ut, grew more beautiful by the day. A very rich district chief asked for her hand in marriage for his son.

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