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Introduction

Vietnam is basically an agricultural society that has developed its basis on the farming of wet rice. This system is claimed to be among the oldest practices in East Asia. This was mostly conducted around the prehistoric Bronze Age within the Dong Son culture. This culture is believed to be one among the most significant progenitors. As a result of the long-term Chinese sway on its culture, in terms of governance, politics moral ethics and the Confucian philosophy, Vietnam is claimed to be part and parcel of the culture of the Eastern Asia sphere Asia. Historians continue to share a universal outlook that Vietnam maintains a fairly huge cultural society that was developed around the initial half of the 1st millennium before the flourish of Christ flourished by the mid of this millennium. That culture was referred to as the Dong Son cultural society.

Culture

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Vietnam boasts of a total of 54 local ethnicities that live across the country. Formed early in history, the culture was later on affected by efforts that were against foreign invasion. The national civilization later surfaced from a substantial living atmosphere which detailed a tropical state that had many rivers in addition to the convergence of many great cultures. A significant aspect of the Vietnamese culture was the Dong Son Bronze drum in addition to the stable and accurate art of growing rice in water. After the Chinese invasion, two parallel inclinations were witnessed. They include the Han assimilation and the anti-Han assimilation. Vietnamese culture was also characterized by the second summit of the Dai Viet, otherwise known as the Great Vietnam culture. Taoism and Buddhism managed to restore the Vietnamese culture comprehensively after the Le and the Ly-Tran dynasties.

The period that marked the conclusion of French authority was signified by a cultural fusion that was brought about as a result of two contradictory trends, Europeanism and anti-Europeanization. This led to the struggle involving colonialist culture and patriotic culture. The modern Vietnamese culture phase has progressively assumed its form since the beginning of the 1930's extending to the 1940's of this period as a result of Marxism-Leninism and an added increase in patriotism. Vietnamese ways of life irrespective of the progressively more concentrated incorporation into the aspects of the world's contemporary civilization in addition to the maintenance and augmentation of its worldwide and national identity continues to promise to arrive at a fresh chronological climax.

It is accurate to claim that there existed three leels of ethnicity that was overlapping each other throughout Vietnam's history. They include the culture that fused with cultural aspects of the Chinese people in addition to that of other countries that exist within the Eastern Asian region, original local culture and finally, the culture that cooperated extensively with Western culture. The most famous aspect of the culture of the Vietnamese people has to be the fact that foreign culture could not be able to be assimilated into it as a result of the powerful local cultural fundamentals. Instead, Vietnamese culture made it possible to localize and make use of the foreign culture in their efforts to enrich their national culture.

Religion

The religious forms that were the earliest to be established in Vietnam include Confucianism, the Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. There was also a noteworthy number of minorities who adhered to religions like Cao Dai, Roman Catholicism, and Hoa Hao. A much smaller minority group was found to be adherents of Islam, Protestantism, Theravada Buddhism and Hinduism as they were established much later into the more recent centuries.

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Majority of Vietnamese citizens identify themselves as being non-religious despite their habits of visiting religious temples more than a few times each year. Their everyday conduct in addition to their outlooks in life is directed by their understanding and adoption of philosophies that can be attached to many religious convictions. These include Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism. These religions have managed to successfully co-exist in Vietnam for scores of centuries and have perfectly merged with the existing tradition that entails the worship of their national icons and ancestors. This explains much as to why Vietnamese people continue to find it difficult precisely explain the religion that they profess to.

Marriage and the Family

Marriage ceremonies are marked by the bride's family lining up to welcome her future husband during the betrothal ceremony. Historically, both women and men would marry at very young ages after the arrangements were completed by ether the parents or the extended family members. The children in question had very little say to the issue in question. However, modern Vietnamese marriages allow individuals to make a choice as to when and who to marry on the basis of love and other personal needs of the individuals planning on getting married. Customary Vietnamese weddings comprise the most significant traditions in Vietnamese culture. Irrespective of Westernization most age-old practices that are conducted during a conventional marriage ceremony are sttill illustrated by Vietnamese individuals living both in the country and overseas. In most cases, they opt to incorporate both the Eastern and Western elements.

Family and marriage are rendered very imperative in Vietnam. In areas of the countryside, it is the responsibility of parents to make marriage arrangements. At the same time, divorce is uncommon although it is existent in the cities. Traditional Vietnamese families bear rigid roles. The man is assumes full responsibility for his family's financial well-being as well and he takes pride in being the provider. The women in the house (nôi tuong) are anticipated to submit to the words of their husbands and in his absence, their eldest sons. They also look after their husbands, parents and in-laws. The girls are expected to be submissive to their fathers. Older children are charged with the dependability of looking after the younger ones. In addition, instillation of discipline is taken as a parental obligation. Spanking is a common form of punishment that is administered once children develop past the early childhood age.

The Economy

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As a country that was built on the basis of agricultural development, feudal dynasties in Vietnam always believed in agriculture as the mainstay of their economic solutions. As a result, their money-making thoughts thus had linkages to physiocracy. The economic stance in the region following Asian economic Crisis of 1997, and the recession in East Asia have led to more emphasis on macroeconomic stability as opposed to growth. While the region has moved in the direction of additional market-oriented financial system, the government in Vietnam continues to maintain restraint over the most important state segments of the economy. These include some segments of foreign trade, the banking scheme and state-owned enterprises. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Vietnam was registered to have fallen to 6% in 1998 and further to 5% in the year 1999.

Conclusion

The Vietnamese cultural society managed to reach a level of development that was higher than the ones others were experiencing at that period within the region. Its characteristics led to the development most of the South East Asian culture as we know it due to the common Southern Mongoloid roots they shared in addition to the rice culture. In a later development, systems of local cultures in the different regions of the Ca, the Ma and Red rivers came together to come up with the culture known as Dong Son during the embryonic era before invasion. The ability to maintain this culture should be emulated by other cultures in order to preserve history.

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