Vietnam is located in the marine center. This is one of the main reason for making Viet Nam affiliate with other countries easily. However, the differences still last. Understanding them is a very important thing. It helps us to avoid cultural shocks. Following is the list of basic differences between Western culture and eastern culture as well as Vietnamese culture.
1. How to show love?
The Western: Males and females can hold hands or kiss each other in public places. This is very ordinary for surrounding people and nobody notices that. Close friends can kiss on cheeks or kiss lightly on the lips. A couple can also kiss in front of their children.
The Vietnamese: People rarely see male and female kissing each other in public places. If they did so, other people would stare at them. For male and female, touching bodies each other is limited, even closest friends. People think that it results both of friends love each other. Parents do not also kiss each other in front of their children. They do not also kiss their old children. However, they love and are faithful to each other.
2. How to celebrate parties and festivals?
The Western: Christmas and the lunar new year are the most important celebrations in a year. Families usually go on a holiday far from home or only gather around together to eat and drink. For the Western people, birthday and wedding are the most important occasions in life. On these days, connected people gather to sing, dance, offer gifts and have a snack party. On wedding days, the Western people usually organize a snack party. They seldom receive lucky money.
The lunar new year holiday or Tet is the most important festival in a year. A few year before Tet, Vietnamese families to clean and decorate their houses. During Tet holiday, they enjoy special foods for Tet such as square sticky rice cakes, dried fruits. Family members who live apart gather and celebrate Tet together. In Vietnam, death anniversary is celebrated more solemnly than birthday party.
On these occasions, relatives gather and enjoy meals together. They share memories and stories about the dead and his good characters. The wedding ceremony is very finical, including many sections. There are usually two main ceremonies: engaging and wedding. When getting engaged, the groom’s family brings the gold and trays of fruits, cakes, wine, tea to the bride’s family to ask for a wedding. On the wedding, the groom’s family go to the bride’s family to receive the bride. The people who participate in the wedding party have to give the couple lucky money.
3. How to eat and drink?
The Western: The Western people, don’t spend too much time cooking. They usually buy some foods for the week because they are busy at work. Most of them are Christians, so they pray before eating. The food doesn’t have a lot of condiments. Knives, spoons, forks are things which are usually on the table. Most of the foods are dry and cold. The dishes are eaten using plates and spoons. Western people only have dinner as the main meal, families gather around the dining table. Foods are divided equally to every family member. And they don’t cause rustles while eating. Popular foods show Southeastern Asia’s cuisine culture.
The Vietnamese: Vietnamese people usually buy products at traditional markets or supermarkets daily. Therefore, they always eat fresh foods. Cooks have to spend so much time on processing because the food has a lot of condiments. It is usually acrid and hot. This is a common characteristic of Southeastern Asia and Northeastern Asia. Vietnamese people usually eat with chopsticks. Spoons and food are put in plates and large bowls and the same a tray. This shows the community culture of Vietnamese people having thousands of years before. Before eating, the young have to invite the old. The young aren’t eat until the old do. When eating people usually cause rustles because the foods are acrid and hot.
4. How to greet?
The Western: Western people usually greet somebody with joined hands. Female can also do, too. This shows equality between male and female. Close friends can kiss on cheeks or kiss on lips slightly. They wave hands to greet the others even the older. And clapping on the back slightly to connected people is normal.
The Vietnamese: Male and female are rarely seen join hands each other. The young don’t active in joining hands the old but wait for this action from them. When joining hands they only hold rather enough and not too long, using both hands and bend the head slightly. Women don’t usually join hands with each other. Friends never give kisses to each other. The old can kiss young children. They can wave hands to call young children And friends can also do so. Clapping on the back slightly is only agreed for close friends. When going into the house of a Vietnamese family, you have to greet the oldest first, then greet from the old to the young.
Those are only some of the most basic differences in the spirit, feeling, eating and drinking, greeting between Vietnamese and the Western people. Besides, there are many other differences. Understanding much about differences between Western culture and the Vietnamese culture helps us have many friends.