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Lesson 1: Ao Dai - A Celebration of Vietnamese Culture

CEO Tinh Phung
Image: Ao Dai - Pride of Vietnamese culture For generations, the Ao Dai has been the traditional costume of Vietnamese women, symbolizing the beauty and essence of Vietnamese culture. From ancient folk songs to modern...

Ao Dai - Pride of Vietnamese culture Image: Ao Dai - Pride of Vietnamese culture

For generations, the Ao Dai has been the traditional costume of Vietnamese women, symbolizing the beauty and essence of Vietnamese culture. From ancient folk songs to modern works of art, the Ao Dai has captivated hearts and minds. Its significance extends beyond being a national outfit; it has also become an icon of cultural diplomacy, connecting Vietnam with the rest of the world.

Ao Dai is an Inheritance from Traditional Roots

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Duong, the Ao Dai is not the creation of one person, but rather an evolution of thousands of years of cultural heritage. The modern Ao Dai we see today is a result of numerous innovations and adaptations.

The transformation began in the early 20th century when painter Lemur (Nguyen Cat Tuong) introduced changes to the traditional Tu body and Ngu Than shirt. He added Western influences, such as a shorter waistline to accentuate the curves of a woman's body, while incorporating essential elements of Vietnamese culture. This fusion of traditional and modern elements made the Ao Dai even more enchanting.

In the 1960s, painter Le Pho further refined the Ao Dai, designing a more discreet neckline that preserved the soft and graceful essence of Vietnamese women's beauty. This version of the Ao Dai, especially favored by women in the North, represents their preference for privacy and delicacy.

Since the 1970s, the popularity of the Ao Dai has soared, spreading from the urban intelligentsia to all segments of society, including rural areas. No longer reserved for special occasions, the Ao Dai is now worn at various events, symbolizing the significance it holds in Vietnamese culture. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Duong emphasizes that the Ao Dai has become an indispensable costume, representing the beauty of Vietnamese culture in important national and social gatherings.

Ao Dai - A Distinctive Feature Image: Ao Dai - A Distinctive Feature

Preserving National Identity through the Ao Dai

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Duong asserts that identity is a crucial aspect of distinguishing between ethnic groups, communities, and countries. Ao Dai embodies the unique characteristics of Vietnamese culture and serves as a distinctive feature, ensuring that Vietnam's cultural identity remains intact amidst international integration.

The Ao Dai is not merely a national costume; it represents the long history, cultural traditions, artistic aesthetics, and national consciousness of the Vietnamese people. Through various designs, materials, and adaptations, the Ao Dai has stood the test of time while retaining its flexibility, sensuality, and discreet charm. Its timeless beauty sets it apart from any other garment.

When a Vietnamese girl wearing an Ao Dai is spotted on the streets of New York or Paris, her presence radiates the unique beauty of the country and its people. Observers instantly recognize that she is Vietnamese, appreciating the significance of the Ao Dai as an emblem of Vietnamese culture.

While the Ao Dai is predominantly associated with women, men also wear it on special occasions like Tet holidays, weddings, or traditional cultural events. The participation of men in wearing the traditional Ao Dai contributes to the preservation and promotion of Vietnam's unique cultural identity.

Ao Dai - A Symbol of Cultural Self-Defense Image: Ao Dai - A Symbol of Cultural Self-Defense

A Symbol of "Cultural Self-Defense" against Integration

Culture plays a vital role in the development of a nation, as affirmed by President Ho Chi Minh at the first National Cultural Conference in 1946. Emphasizing the guiding role of culture, our Party and State have always prioritized cultural diplomacy as a means to promote the country's image, people, and values.

In 2021, the Prime Minister issued the Strategy for Cultural Diplomacy until 2030, recognizing the importance of cultural diplomacy in enhancing Vietnam's soft power. Culture is not merely an equal pillar among economy, politics, and society; it also nurtures the country's internal strength for sustainable development.

Preserving culture is crucial for a nation's "cultural self-defense" against the pressures of integration and assimilation. Despite historical periods of dominance and cultural coercion, Vietnam has managed to preserve its distinct cultural identity. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Duong highlights the significance of culture as a national defense mechanism, solidifying the nation's existence and values throughout time.

As General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong states, the preservation of culture ensures the survival of a nation. Vietnamese Ao Dai is not exempt from this cultural defense. As a representative costume, the Ao Dai carries profound historical, cultural, and artistic meaning. It encapsulates the spirit and consciousness of the Vietnamese people.

Designer Minh Hanh acknowledges that culture remains the foundation for Vietnam in the current era of integration and globalization. Ao Dai, as a cultural heritage, holds immense power to convey the messages of the Vietnamese era to the world. It represents pride, identity, and the values of a nation. With every international cultural, social, political, and diplomatic event, the Vietnamese Ao Dai affirms and inspires all who encounter it.

Through its own unique "brand," the Vietnamese Ao Dai leaves a lasting impression on international friends when they speak of Vietnam and its people. This brand is perpetuated and celebrated not only by Vietnamese citizens but also by foreigners who cherish Vietnam. The Ao Dai has become a symbol of modern Vietnamese culture, promoting the image of Vietnam to the world with grace and elegance.

In this article, documentary photos, collected photos, and photos from colleagues are used.

News by PV Group, Dangcongsan.vn

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