"Don't get too tied down with that communism thing. Vietnam is communist in name only. In terms of the likes of education and health care the capitalist country you left is likely to provide more for its people. As for freedom, well don't expect criticism of the government in the newspapers, but you don't suffer a nanny state here either.
And yes.. the opening up to commerce has helped Vietnam prosper. But don't forget this is on the back of a rare 30 years of peace. I would guess that this is the most significant factor in the upswing."
The Vietnamese - had their origins around the delta of the Red River in China, but there is little clarity about their origins. Somewhere between 500 and 200 BC. they came as an ethnic group forwards from a melting pot of peoples, which went up among the more seafarers Oceania and migrants from Asia. After having established as a people, the Vietnamese moved steadily southward. They settled on plains and river deltas to the early 18th century to reach the southern Mekong Delta. Their country, 1700 kilometers long, stretching from the Chinese border to the Gulf of Thailand.
The Vietnamese language:
The Vietnamese language belongs to one of the most complicated languages of the mainland of Southeast Asia. It is strongly influenced by the thousand years of Chinese domination. In the 17th century European missionaries developed a new alphabet based on the Latin script, that Chinese characters (chu nom and han tu) replaced and became the official script.
The confucianism / ancestor worship is the predominant religion; almost every Vietnamese house has an altar for the deceased ancestors.
The Mahayana Buddhism has many followers in Vietnam. Theravada Buddhism has much less followers. The northern, the first variant (Mahayana Buddhism), came from China, southern India.
Buddhist institutions were free to go about their business until the coming of communism in the 20th century, when all religious activities were discouraged.
Catholicism, which now has three million followers, had a wonderful century in the mid-19th when Vietnam became became a French colony.
In the first decades of the 20th century arose in Vietnam, the Cao Dai religion, a combination of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity.
Vietnam has nearly 85 million inhabitants. Most people live in the northern and southern delta and along the coast. Together is that about a third of the country, where 90% of the population lives. The remaining 10% lives in the mountainous regions in the west and north.
About a quarter of the Vietnamese population lives in cities. The population is growing strongly. Vietnam is expected in 2020 will have more than 100 million inhabitants. That is a big problem, because Vietnam doesn't have houses, space and food.
Vietnamese people form 85% of the large majority of the population. In addition Khmer and Cham live mainly in the Mekong Delta. They are descendants of the Champa kingdom from the 2nd to the 13th century, who lived in Central Vietnam.
There are also various minorities living in the mountains, including Tay, Hmong, Muong and Dao.
Vietnamese life is strongly influenced by the Chinese. This is not surprising, because the Vietnamese are originally from China and the country has long been a long time a Chinese province (see History).
The Vietnamese Kitchen:
The Vietnamese Kitchen:
The Vietnamese cuisine is heavily influenced by China, especially in the north of the country. The meals are generally simpler in the north, because the north is traditional poorer than the south.
The most authentic Vietnamese food can be found in the central part. The dishes are as exuberant, colorful and often quite peppery. There is abundant use of soy sauce, fish sauce and hoisin sauce.
French influences are reflected in a dish like Bánh Xeo, a kind of pancake stuffed with meat, shrimp and bean sprouts. Baguettes are a relic from the French period.
Vietnamese coffee is very strong. The drink is put by placing a metal filter with coffee and boiling water in a cup. The Vietnamese drink invariably with thick condensed milk. That in itself is sweet, but they add some extra sugar.
Flag and coin:
The currency of this country is the dong.
There are lots and lots of rice fields in Vietnam, and it is a communist country. The largest city of the country is Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. The red background of the Vietnamese flag stands for the socialist revolution of Vietnam and the shed blood of the Vietnamese during the First Indochina War with France. The five points of the golden star on the flag for the professions and individuals in Vietnam: workers, peasants, intellectuals, youths and soldiers. Also, the five star points for unity in the socialist state. The flag was first introduced in the former country North Vietnam in the year 1954. Since 1976, the current flag of Vietnam.