The Vietnamese use their culture as guidelines for ideal ways of living. There are four mutual levels of Vietnamese culture.
The first level is the simplest layer. It includes daily necessary material goods that we need such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc…
The most mesmerizing material images of Viet culture are captured through the clothing designs from three major regions of Vietnam: Ao Tu Than from the North, Ao Dai from the Central and Ao Ba Ba from the South.
The cultural value of this level is defined as REAL, for its practical significance.
The second level of Vietnamese culture contains diverse customs such as chewing betel leaves, worshiping ancestors, and special ways of addressing each other by titles based on the relationship.
Several festivals are celebrated throughout the lunar year: Tet Nguyen Dan is the New Year Festival in January to greet Spring, Tet Doan Ngo celebrates the prevention of insects to protect farming in May, and Tet Trung Thu is the Mid Autumn Moon Festival for children in August. Tet indicates a certain time related to major activities during the year.
The cultural value of this level is GOODNESS, for its integrity in relating to one another.
Literature, Science, and Arts belong to the third level of Vietnamese culture.
Literature includes the Nom characters and Quoc Ngu alphabets which are popular in poetry. Science and Technology had been proven through ancient rice farming techniques, the making of bronze drums, and southern folk medicine.
The unique Vietnamese performing arts comprise regional folk songs, poetry recitals, and classical and reformed theatre.
The cultural value of this level is GRACE, showcasing the artistic and creative way of living.
The fourth and core level of Vietnamese culture is represented by its ideology, belief, and moral values. Beside the cultural values through practical material as presented earlier, the Viet philosophy has been taught through legends, folktale, and proverbs… from our ancestors through many generations… to treat others with humanitarian compassion and dignity, and to gain knowledge and righteousness from external sources to generate internal strength.
The cultural value of this level is DIVINE – though it exists, it is difficult to see.
These four values, REAL-GOODNESS-GRACE-DIVINE, are the measurements of the Vietnamese culture.