Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tet festival and the dreamy Ao Dai (s)

As we know it, Tet (Vietnamese's New Year) already outside our door. From children to adults, everybody flock to welcome the New Year. All and sundry, everyone, one and all in their Ao Dai and expressing one's wishes and praises to each other. It is the best time for the Vietnamese to showcase their Ao Dai in their most important festivals of the year.

For the diaspora population, this is one of the events that helps them remember and passing on the traditional and showing the next generation a bit of the cultures. As express in the article "
Vietnamese children greet Year of the Tiger in Edmonton" by Taylor Bendig, states that the Tet festival mainly surround the children in hope to bring them closer to their Vietnamese heritage. (Bendig) During the Tet festivals, not only the children get to see and witness many traditional practice such as "mua lan" (dragon dance), "Li xi" (red envelops), eating "muc, banh chung, banh day..." (dry fruits, square and round cake...). But most importantly, they get to see people in their colorful Ao Dai of many sizes and styles. But does many of the Ao Dai we see are what so certain to considered as "traditional?" Or is it so advance now that we alter the word "traditional" to fit the new generation?

As mention in the article "áo dài revival" by Kieu Linh Caroline Valverde, she wrote about how the áo dài has evolve since the ever-so "tradition." Upon reading through many changes of the áo dài, I see those changes as a good thing. I always believe that "traditional" must be leave "traditional" with no alteration or influences of others and stay purely Vietnamese. But what is so wrong on making the áo dài more evolves and more fit into the new generation, new world. Perhaps, the new generations, especially of those oversee where they are exposed to the western culture, are more "modern." My generation nowadays, we want new thing, western luxury. So the áo dài evolves as the new generation approaches the designs. It likes adding a little spice into the soup to make it more tasty and better. Changes made upon the áo dài are for good rather than destroying "tradition" then, the old and traditional áo dài will soon become a historical dresses and will have the historical values. (Valverde)

We are at the edge of the new year and it all about changes, new things, improved things. So let bring in the new áo dài and let advance into the new future of the áo dài. Hopefully one day, we can pull the áo dài into the mainstream society to let the world see the beauty of our country.

Speaking of Tet, I am really not gonna enjoy it since I will not be wearing new clothes...Due to the compact challenge, I will not be able to get new dress for Tet. That's mean for the rest of the year, I will be wearing old clothes. But, on the good side, I will have an excuses to not giving out Li Xi :D. Though there are certain obstacles in the way of the compact challenge, but I kept thinking of how much money I could save from buying useless material. It was a rough start but I think I am getting the hang of the challenge. Habits can be change.

Tu's out!

Tu Le
Blog #6

Valverde, Kieu Linh Caroline Ed. 2006. Ao Dai: A Modern Design Coming of Age. San Jose: Association for Viet Arts and San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Bendig, Taylor. "Vietnamese children greet Year of the Tiger in Edmonton." Edmonton Journal 06 Feb 2010: n. pag. Web. 7 Feb 2010. <>.
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