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Unveiling Vietnam’s Cultural Tapestry: A Fusion of Chinese Influence and Local Identity

Vietnam is the country I feel closest to in Southeast Asia. Entering Vietnam by land, passing through many villages and towns along the way. The architectural style of these villages and towns is very similar to that of Guangxi. If the local Vietnamese don’t wear the traditional “Ao Dai” dress, it would be difficult for me to see any difference between them and my friends in Guangxi.
  When we arrived in Hanoi, this feeling became even more obvious. There are many old buildings near Jianhu Lake in the old quarter of Hanoi. They all have the appearance of traditional Chinese buildings and have plaques written in Chinese. A Confucian temple next to Jianhu Lake is a typical Chinese-style building. Confucius and other Confucian sages are enshrined in the temple. Different from China, the Hanoi Confucian Temple also has a hall dedicated to the Vietnamese Confucian master Chu Van An. The most famous specialty snack in Hanoi is Vietnamese Pho, whose shape, preparation method and taste are very similar to those from Guangdong and Fujian.
  The most China-like place in Vietnam is the ancient city of Hue, which was the royal palace of the Vietnamese Nguyen Dynasty. The ancient city feels like a smaller version of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with buildings similar to the Meridian Gate and the Hall of Supreme Harmony. An exhibition hall in the Imperial City displays a large number of documents from that year, all written in Chinese characters. Chinese tourists can read them without any obstacles. On the contrary, the Vietnamese next to them need to read Vietnamese annotations to understand the history of their ancestors.
  Although Vietnam is deeply influenced by Chinese culture, it has gradually developed its own characteristics in the process of absorption. For example, in addition to family reunions, Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival is also the local Children’s Day. After the Chinese zodiac was introduced to Vietnam, it also changed. For the Chinese, this year is the Year of the Rabbit, but in Vietnam it is the Year of the Cat.