Characters Of The Culture Of Vietnam (Part 2)


Characters Of The Culture Of Vietnam (Part 2)

Karl Marx once pointed out, cultural activities of human initially belonged to emotionally material labor: “Religion, the family, the state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production and therefore come under its general law.” Thus, labor, practice - or self-conscious and purposeful operations of human have confirmed “the existence of species” of human beings, which is also the origin of true nature of human, and the origin of culture.

(Part 1)

From above analysis, we understand more in the academic field with more than 400 definitions of culture. Also from that commentary, abroad and domestic cultural researchers drew many cultural characteristics, including four most basic characteristics as the followings:

- Firstly, systematic character. Culture is an organic system of cultural physical values, socio-cultural and spiritual culture of the community. From this fundamental element, many different stages have emerged and form a rich whole complex.

- Secondly, value character. Culture includes values (value of material life, value of spiritual life), becoming a measure of social level and humane level. In the history of human development, there are cultural value for existence and cultural value for development.

- Thirdly, historical character. Culture has always been formed through a process and accumulated over generations. Culture is achievements of communities in their process of interacting with natural environment and society, for the perfection to reach the value.

- Fourth, humane character. Culture is a social phenomenon of human society, associated with practical activities, as values created by the community, belong to human, inside human, and bear the trace of human. Thereby, human are both the subject of culture and the object of culture; also is the product of culture.

2. Conditions for cultural formation and basic characteristics of the culture of Viet Nam

Culture is a human activity in general and is characteristics of each community in particular. It is the existential condition of every human being, as well as achievements of every ethnic group, and is one to distinguish between this community and other communities. It is an “identity card” to identify characteristics of each nation, a “passport” for countries to sit negotiation, a message to bring nations together, is the foundation, pillars, an important force for the sustainable development of the society. 

Culture with its potent, vitality and unique strength, clearly express the combined strength of the country.

Of course, when talking about culture in general or culture of a nation in particular, we must mention nature. After all, “culture” is only a “nature” which is adapted and transformed by “human”, to meet the needs in every aspect of human beings.

Origin of characteristics of national culture must be in historical conditions of the nation. However, before that, and throughout history, we have to see geographical conditions thereby affecting farming practices, forms of economics... and their pressure on socio-political kind. Culture is above all an answer, a response of the community to challenges of geographical – climate conditions, and then responds to challenges of social – historical conditions. Therefore, when discussing about peculiarities – typical characteristics of Vietnamese culture, we must find its roots from the new stone era, when arising agriculture and villages. We must pay attention to fundamental conditions in geography and natural environment that produced up characters of that culture. We should not separate culture from nature. Consequently, in terms of nature, anthropology, Vietnamese culture began in South East Asia rather than in China. Originally, the natural geographical space in South East Asia, including Yangtze River region stretching to the south, the southern region and Quin Mountains and current Atxam. The natural environment here arose and rice agriculture developed.

In terms of anthropology, until the middle period of the first millennium BC, the Bach Viet in a broad sense, the Viet-Muong was non-Chinese, non-Indian regions. Until China expanded down to Yangtze River Basin, Viet Nam and China were different: Viet Nam was an Asian monsoon region, China was an Asian mainland, Viet Nam was a rice farming area, and China was a dry agricultural region (growing millet, sorghum, barley). From the middle period of the first millennium BC, China expanded to Yangtze River Basin and southwards to the South; the Bach Viet gradually shrink, leaving Viet Nam – the only representative of the remaining complex of the ancient Bach Viet, which existed with both features of Nation – State and Nation – People. Since then, there were non-weird ones between Viet Nam and China.[1] So the difference between Viet Nam and China appeared before the common ones between the two countries.

Viet Nam – South East Asia is a region of rich nature, united but varied. Therefore, the indigenous culture of this region is also rich and diverse in unity. With its history movement, the culture of this region absorbed exogenous factors from India, China, and the West. Therefore, it is more diverse and seems to mist its roots – the cultural essence and endogenous chemicals in the region.

Due natural and historical conditions of the nation and socio-economic conditions, Vietnamese culture soon had a trend of exchange, integration, acculturation, thus Viet Nam has a multilingual and multi-characteristic culture background. The Dai Viet civilization is rated as one of the 34 first civilizations of mankind. Many scholars agreed that Vietnamese culture was created in Red River rice basin over 4,000 years ago, which was forged and confirmed in 2,000 years of fighting and dialoguing with China. Additionally, during a long history of over 4,000 years, Viet Nam had a cultural acculturation with Western civilization in many ways such as cultural dialogue within cultural fight, absorbing positively and negatively, the most important is just to keep traditions while modernizing customs.

Over 80 years, under the rule of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, Vietnamese culture has made important progress. In the national revolution, democracy, the liberation of the South, the reunification, as well as the building and developing the country since the renovation. The Communist Party of Viet Nam always pay attention to cultural fields, developing culture and developing the Vietnamese, for the purpose of meeting the requirements of sustainable development of the country.

[1] Tran Quoc Vuong: Vietnam Culture - Searching and Pondering. Ethnic Publishing House Culture, Journal of Culture and Arts, 2000, Pg.56-77.

(Part 3)

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