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Meet 90-Year-Old Huỳnh Văn Ba, the Father of Hội An's Foldable Lanterns

In his 90s, Huỳnh Văn Ba’s hair has turned completely silver, but when he was telling me stories about lanterns, his voice and eyes sparkled with a particularly lively hope. Thanks to Ba’s invention —...

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In Hà Nội, a Martial Arts Master Preserves the Century-Old Tradition of Dragon Dancing

In Vietnam, during festive occasions such as Tết Nguyên Đán (Lunar New Year), mesmerizing dragon dance performances serve to eloquently spell the people's aspiration for fortune, abundance, and p...

Khôi Phạm

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On Delving Into Vietnam's Eras of Tết Firecrackers via My Family History

Is it a valid reverie or just mere misguided nostalgia to feel a sense of yearning for lives you’ve never lived?

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Xông Đất and the Art of Not Letting Randos Into Your Home on Mùng Một

Tết permeates all areas of life this time of the year, from TV programs to online memes and highly detailed charts, tables, and infographics that guide people to participate in a popular new year acti...

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In the Year of the Dragon, Confessions of a Supposedly 'Auspicious' Dragon Baby

During high school, I learned that babies born in years of the dragon were thought to be “fortunate” and thus, highly sought-after.

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When Lịch Bloc Is Gone, What Will Vietnam Use to Keep Discarded Fish Bones?

I have never bought a lịch bloc, or tear-off calendar, for personal use, because every new year, I'm bound to be gifted a brand-new one. In Vietnam, a calendar is often something one purchases as a pr...

Paul Christiansen

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It's Tết: The Liberating Magic of Using Tết as an Excuse for Everything

I hate excuses.

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How Choosing My Own Áo Dài Tết Healed My Trauma Over Áo Dài Uniform

High school can be a frustrating time in virtually every culture, as seen from the myriad of coming-of-age movies depicting the range of clichés, stereotypes and expressions of teenage angst we all go...

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Revisiting Vietnam's Bootleg DVD Stores, the Dethroned King of Local Entertainment

Once upon a time, it was really, really hard to halt the growth of pirated DVD/CD stores in Hanoi. Nowadays, if you take a peek into the window of Hàng Bài Street’s former counterfeit/bootleg DVD stor...

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On Searching for Rươi Vendor Street Calls, Hanoi's Harbinger of Autumn

Embedded in the street call of rươi vendors is the conjuring of autumn, when delectable cuisines from across the land of Vietnam come together on a dinner table.

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In Remembrance of Saigon Street Calls Past

Drowned out by the noises of modernization, sounds that once served as the background to a simpler time have begun to shrink, and eventually become lost in the wheel of progress. Tiếng rao, or street ...

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In Tây Hồ, an Artisan Community Holds Fast to Their Lotus Tea Traditions

Every sip of lotus tea encapsulates all the essences of the natural landscapes of Tây Hồ.

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Inside the Bình Thạnh Depot Where Retro Military Knick-Knacks Live

“This furniture has been around for many decades, but you can use them normally without the fear of breaking them. Because they are industrial equipment made for the military or office buildings, they...

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Phan Thiết's Vibrant Whale Worship Festival Reflects Vietnam's Rich Animist Traditions

Whale worship started from a folk belief harbored by fishermen seeking help from the gods to endure the arduous days spent at sea, but over time, it grew to become one of the most prominent spiritual ...

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On the Hunt for One-of-a-Kind Treasures in Saigon's Thriving Thrift Shops

In the summer of 2021, Hương Nguyễn decided to pivot away from her office job and launch an online thrift store called Vintage Hearts. She was motivated by how difficult it was to find clothing in Sai...

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The Artist Preserving Saigon's Cultural Tapestry Through Hand-Painted Signs

"In the early 2000s, the market experienced an exodus of painters due to the shift to digital; it was difficult to retain customers otherwise. I didn't want my craft to be forgotten, so I started ever...

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An Homage to Rastaclat, the Coolest Bracelets of Our High School Years

During my teenage years when a lot of us were trying new things, I can remember certain trending items affected our lifestyle. For me, amongst the most memorable was the Hypebeast culture that ca...

Paul Christiansen

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Vignette: How Bình Định's Nón Ngựa Gave Me Hope for the Tourism Industry

In 1964, when Đỗ Văn Lan was only 14 years old, a group of American soldiers spent six months at his family’s Bình Định home learning how to make nón ngựa. Once he learned that I am American, he told ...

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The Hanoi Village Where Making Folding Fans Involves Every Family

One summer day, I made a trek into suburban Hanoi to Thạch Thất District. Walking along the dirt road surrounded by green maturing rice fields, I reached Chàng Sơn Village.

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In Phú Nhuận's Communal House, a Kỳ Yên Festival Right by the Train Track

The Kỳ Yên festival is the biggest annual event held at the Phú Nhuận communal house from the 16th to the 18th of the first lunar month.