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Culture Vietnam

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Vietnam : Discover the country's culture

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Photographs by Jean-François Mallet. With the collaboration of Didier Corlou, head chef at Hanoi. Ed. Hermé, 2005 edition.

Vietnam : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

207 BC: Foundation of Nam Viet
111BC: Annexing of Nam Viet by the Han
40-43 BC: Revolt by the Trung sisters. Direct Chinese administration.
544-602 AD: Introduction of Buddism
938: Victory of Ngo Quyen over the Chinese. Foundation of the Dai Co Viet kingdom.
968-980: Dinh dynasty
980-1009: Le Dynasty (first)
1010-1225: Ly Dynasty
1226-1400: Tran dynasty
1258: first mongol invasion
1406: Ming invasion
1418: Uprising of Le Loi against the invader Ming
1427: Defeat of Ming by Le Loi
1428-1788: Later Le dynasty, the longest-ruling dynasty of Vietnam
17th century: First Catholic missionaries
1802-1945: Nguyen dynasty
1858: Da Nang taken by the French
1867: Cochine becomes French colony
1883: Tonkin and Annam become French protectorates
1887: Indochinese union
1940: Japan invades Indochina
1945: Ho Chi Minh declares independence from Vietnam and founds the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The French reoccupy the South. Emperor Bao Dai abdicates.
1946: France goes to war against Viet-minh.
1954: French defeat at Dien-Bien-Phu.
1955: Geneva agreements. Separation of North and South Vietnam at the 17th Parallel.
1964-1975: America goes to war with Vietnam.
1968: North-Vietnamese offensive during Tet.
1969: Death of Ho Chi Minh.
1975: Viet-Cong takes Saigon.
1976: Reunification of North and South. Viet Nam is re-named Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
1978: Vietnam invades Cambodia.
1987: Vietnam opens to tourists.
1989: Vietnam removes troops from Cambodia.
1994: End of American embargo.
1995: The country is admitted to the Association of South-East Asian nations.
1996: Campaign against foreign influences.
June 1996: 8th congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party, no political reform.
1997: Official visit of French president Jaques Chirac during the 7th Francophone summit. France, as the first non-asian investor, develops long-lasting links with Vietnam.
The National Parliament elects Vice prime-minister Tran Duc Luong as president of the Socialist republic.
2000: official visit of President Bill Clinton.
Feburary 2001: Official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
April 2001: 9th congress of the Vietnamese Communist party. Bilateral trade agreement with the US enters into force.
May 2002: legislative elections. New national Parliament sees out the President of the Republic.
October 2002: State visit to France of President Tran Duc Luong, first visit of a Vietnamese head of state to France since beginning diplomatic relations in 1973.
2004: Vietnam organises the 5th Europe-Asia summet at Hanoi. Elsewhere, Vietnamese dipomacy banked on acession to the WTO at the end of 2006.
2006: National Congress of the Communist Party in April. June 27, Election of new President Triet Nguyen Linh. November 7, Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization.
2008: April 18, Launching in Kourou (French Guiana) of VINASAT-1, Vietnam's first satellite put into orbit.
2010: Hanoi celebrates its 1000 year anniversary.

Vietnam : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

1st January:
New year's day
Between 19th January and 20th Feburary:
Tet festival (Vietnemese New Year, depending on Lunar calendar)
3rd Feburary:
Anniversary of the Foundation of the Vietnamese communist party.
30 April:
Anniversary of the liberation of Saigon (each city has its own day, between mid-April and the beginning of May.)
April:
Numerous pagoda festivals (a complex of buildings inherited from Buddhism in which architecture works in harmony with nature) take place within the Ha Tay province, to the North of the Country. The Thay pagoda festival (the pagoda of the Master), from the fifth to seventh day of the third lunar month, is celebrated in the Sai Son community, within the Quoc Oai district. It pays hommage to Tu Dao Hanh (the Master), a buddist monk who became king Ly Than Ton who invented the Vietnamese art of water puppets. During the festival, many games and activities are organised. The display of puppets on the water at the Thuy Dinh pavillion is always the finale to the festivities. The Perfume pagoda festival (Huong pagoda) from the sixth day of the first lunar month to the 18th day of the third month takes place within the Huong Son district. Vietnam's longest festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who come to visit the pagodas in sucession, gathering in grottoes and temples to ask for luck, happiness and health, and to admire the mountain setting. The Tay Phuong pagoda festival, the sixth day of the third lunar month is organised at the Tay Phuong pagoda dedicated to Budda, within the Thach Xa community in the Thach That district. Visitors can admire hundreds of laquered and golden statues within the pagoda, true finials of wood sculpture dating from the latter Le dynasty era.
1st May:
Labour day
2nd September:
National day (foundation in 1945 by Ho Chi Minh, of the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam)

Traditional holidays.
The 3rd month of the lunar calendar:
Tet Thanh Minh, day of the dead, to which you bring offerings.
5th day of the 5th month:
Tet Doan Ngo, summer solstice, during which we thank the gods for the harvest.
15th day of the 8th month:
Tet Trung Thu, mid-Autumn festival, in which children are honoured.