In Vietnamese culture, the Lotus flower plays an essential part both in people’s life and legend. Generations after generations, the lotus flower is becoming a symbol of the Vietnamese because of the way it blossoms which makes it stay away from impurity.
To the Vietnamese, the lotus symbolizes the beauty of purity and serenity found in human beings. The flower grows in a murky pond, but it rises above the surface to bloom with breathtaking beauty and wonderful fragrance, and many people are reminded of the dignity and power of Vietnamese. Although we have undergone thousands of years of Northern dominance and a hundred years of Western colonization, we manage to claim our independence and stand tall up to these days.
Due to the above reasons, although the lotus is not being officially recognized as the national flower of Vietnam, it is already the national flower to the Vietnamese. It would be no surprise if you see lotus flowers always win the first spot in any competition choosing Vietnam’s national flower. International friends have long been familiar with the image of the Vietnamese golden lotus as well since it is the logo of Vietnam Airlines, our national airline.
Not only is it a wonderful flower to be admired, but the flower is also an important ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine and medicine. People use the roots of the flower to make salads and its seeds are sweetened to make candies. People usually add lotus seeds in sweet soups as a healthy delicious part.
Also, there is one incredible kind of tea known as the lotus tea, which comes from lotus stamens. This is one of the most popular kinds of tea used in Vietnam and Asian countries as well, such as China. People just fall in love with the lotus tea for its elegant flavor and beautiful smell.
In the north of Vietnam, Ninh Binh is very famous for lotus blossoms in June, visitors usually go there to admire the beauty of the lotus. In southern Vietnam, you can see a variety of lotus in Dong Thap, this place has a high reputation for lotus for many years.
Dong Thap is in the Mekong Delta, whose soil is nurtured by the rich residue of the Mekong river. Lotus season in Dong Thap is in autumn (from August to November). During such a season, visitors can take terrific pictures among the lotus fields, harvest lotus or learn to cook many dishes from lotus. Should you drop by Dong Thap in the lotus blossom season, don’t forget to do some photoshoots individually or with friends. You won’t regret the time and effort spent at all.
The explanation for why lotus is considered Vietnam’s national flower is how it grows. From the darkness, the beauty of lotus arises and brightens as Vietnamese people, who have overcome many difficulties for thousands of years to build and protect the country as it is nowadays.
A Vietnamese folk song says:
“No other flowers in the lake can compare to lotuses
Green leaves, white blossoms, and yellow pistils
Yellow pistils, white blossoms, and green leaves
Never tarnished by the dirty mud nearby.”
As a long-lived tradition, each Vietnamese village has four factors in common: a village gate, a bamboo hedgerow, a banyan tree, and a lotus pond lying next to the banyan tree. The beautiful color of the lotus also goes into many romantic poems. As in the past, young generations usually gathered around the lotus pond to take water for usage and hung out together. It was also a popular place for young couples to date. Lotus flower gradually became the image of romantic love.
Lotus has many different colors, and each of them stands for a special meaning. Generally, all of them not only have the beauty outside but also carry the attractive aroma. You will easily fall in love with this flower at the first glance. There are 5 main colors of lotus including red, pink, white, green or purple. The meaning of every color would be revealed in the following parts, and it is going to surprise you.
Despite growing from the pond floor under the water, the lotus flower stretches itself over time to bring an attractive appearance and smell to people admiring it. This proves the fact that it is the symbol of beauty in darkness like Vietnamese people during the past thousands of years overcame the darkness of being invaded to defend our country.
Buddhism is the main religion in Vietnam as the government considers this as a national religion. Buddhists also overcome the obstacles of darkness to achieve a high level of enlightenment. After overcoming the wants and bad habits as human beings, they appear as nobility and beautiful as the flower.
The color of the flower also has huge importance in Buddhism, with different shades representing alternative meanings to the flower:
It is scientifically proven that the lotus flower can make self-adjustment to the temperature of its flowers within a narrow range just as humans and other warmblooded animals do to fit in its living environment. With people’s love, it was voted as the country’s national flower.— Some people claim that this flower can be found in many countries, but in Vietnam, in the lotus season, it is hard for you to drop by any lakes without seeing it.
People seeing a lotus flower improving and growing from a muddy lake can’t ignore it, but they can also admire the beauty and other meanings that this exquisite plant provides. The beautiful appearance of the lotus immerses from the dirty water, and the lotus flower shall always rise above the mud.
The meaning of overcoming the darkness is also the meaning for life as humans have to overcome many difficulties in their life to reach the goals of enlightenment.
The lotus flower appears beautiful while the muddy water as its background is left behind. The lotus always looks so pure against the scenery of the dirty pond, which leads to powerful symbolism and integration of the lotus across various cultures and religions.
Green Lotus Flower: As green stands for luck and happiness, the green lotus is the symbol of a victory of the spirit over wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge.
Pink Lotus Flower: Pink lotus is considered the lotus of Buddha, this color of the lotus is used in the image of lotus in many items and logos.
Red Lotus Flower: Red is the symbol of our heart. So the red lotus stands for love and sympathy.
Once the lotus flower emerges on Vietnam’s numerous ponds and lakes, they typically survive and are believed to be in their best blossom for about two months. After that, they are likely to wilt as well as lose their previous shape. This usually happens around July or August, which is in the fall.
The lotus stands for beauty in Vietnam in every possible way. It runs through the mud and grime surrounding to show its color and beautiful flower shape to the outside world. It represents the strength and determination to overcome the challenges engaged. Many articles have written and given this special flower the praise it deserves. Consequently, Vietnamese people see the lotus as a symbol of beauty overcoming darkness.
You can see many lotus shapes in Vietnamese fine arts made of bronze or other materials. Such products are widely used, but they would come in daily use the most during Tet holiday for the sake of decoration.
It’s hard to find any other products we can use from the flower to the root-like lotus. Lotus is the main ingredients in many Vietnamese dishes such as the hat sen or com sen
Bitexco Tower is the second-highest building in Ho Chi Minh city. It is designed with the shape of a lotus flower.
A real story was in the north of China, some lotus seeds which had passed a thousand years under a dried pond germinated strongly, even more than today’s lotus seeds.
In the north of Vietnam, the lotus season is usually in summer, but in southern Viet Nam, it is in autumn. So if you have any intention of doing some photoshoot with this special flower, remember to conduct it in these two seasons.
The Lotus flower has several other meanings in many cultures such as Egyptians, Hindus, Buddhists.
Each color of lotus has its meaning. The white stands for purity, the red is for love, the pink is about elegance, the green means victory, and the purple relates to beauty.
Lotus can grow in extreme conditions, even in the coldest or hottest weather and muddy water. This explains briefly why people associate it with strength.
At night, the lotus sinks under the water, it seems like it has a good sleep and grows again the next morning.
There is an essential element in many ceremonies in Vietnam, it is lotus tea. Making lotus tea is to infuse the tea with the smell of lotus, people keep the tea inside the lotus to make it. Or another way is to use tea leaves baked with stamens – It is said that the more times you bake, the stronger the flavor is.
Lotus flowers can change their temperature accordingly, the common temperature is from 30 to 36 Celsius degrees.
The lotus harvest begins when the lotus flower ends, exposing the seeds in the shape of a green bowl of lotus including several seeds inside. Farmers usually mark their way when they harvest as it is easy to get lost in the middle of the lotus field as the lotus branches are dense and tall. The harvest season usually lasts 60 days even though it is rainy or sunny, it has to be done.
Farmers in some provinces in Vietnam prefer growing lotus to rice, as it is more economically beneficial than selling rice. Each lotus season helps farmers win hundreds of million VND, exceeding the profit from growing rice.
Lotus seeds are very important in Vietnamese cuisine. There are many dishes from the seeds of lotus such as lotus seed candies, rice porridge with lotus seeds, and many other sweet soups with lotus seeds. The reason why lotus seeds are very popular in Vietnamese culinary culture is their use. Lotus seeds can restrain the cholesterol in the blood and they are effective in curing some diseases. The lotus seed herd can be used as a tea to help the sleeping problem and cool down the body.
Go to Yen Phu street in the lotus season, you can find several flower vendors with colorful lotus flowers. Photographers wanting to take beautiful flower shots should not skip this. Each bunch of lotus flowers costs only 50.000 thousand dongs, it is cheap as the petals quickly fall after blooming. Lotus seeds are usually sold with flowers.
In June and July, many visitors go to the lotus lake to take pictures with lotus, the preferable dress is Ao dai with pink lotus, sometimes Ao Yem is also a good choice as it was a traditional dress of Vietnamese women in the past. Males can drink lotus tea around the pond. Lotus flowers in pink and white are very popular in Vietnam as well as in many other Asian countries.
Lotus flowers whose flowers are either pink or white have been widely grown in shallow and murky waters in some Asian countries such as China and Vietnam for millennia. Its vitality, beauty, bright color, and pleasant scent have become icons in literature, arts, and religions, including Buddhism. There is a fact that by only collecting lotus leaves, a salesman can sell 400-500 lotus flowers
Under the influence of the Lotus relating to spiritual life, Vietnamese people have brought lotus to the culmination of culinary culture as a tradition. You can find lotus jam, lotus tea made from parts of the lotus flower in Viet Nam. Hanging out around Hanoi street food, you will have the opportunity to enjoy many kinds of Hanoi traditional food that are part of Lotus.
Traditionally, lotus tea in Hue is quite complicated in making, the thin silk that covers lotus seed is peeled, the seed heart is separated, then the fresh seeds are distilled with alum sugar. Hue lotus tea is served in a small porcelain cup. This drink is a vital element in Hue’s holidays. Moreover, many royal dishes include lotus-like salted nest, lotus rice, duck steamed with lotus.
In the north of VietNam, there is a famous dish, which is lotus rice. Green rice is cooked inside the lotus leaves to infuse the flavor of the lotus. The rice in the lotus leaves becomes softer and flexible. This is a perfect combination.
Also, lotus has many other uses. People who get sunstroke usually drink water extracted from pounded puree fresh lotus leaves to cool down the body. Or if people are ill, they eat tubers in the mornings or afternoons or both. Lotus petals or lotus seeds are very useful in helping women beautify. While lotus seeds help people heal the sleep problems
Mứt sen trần (Sugar-coated lotus seeds)
Candied lotus seeds are famous gifts from Vietnam. This is not only a delicious snack but also an effective healer in helping to cool down the body’s heat and make people sleep better. What you eat is your medicine. A famous herbalist of Vietnam used to call “son of the lotus plant” as the name of lotus seeds.
After a long history of working with herbs, the village now specializes in making traditional food.
Lotus seeds are popular in Vietnam during summer, people can eat fresh lotus seeds directly after peeling or they can be dried for the use of cooking.
Fresh lotus seeds usually have a brown peel, commercially there are two kinds of lotus seeds you can find in the market.
Commonly people usually buy white lotus seeds because of their convenience. Even though the bitter heart part of the seed is separated, sometimes it is still in some seeds, so make sure you check carefully before use.
Real silk is a very unique product, silk is woven from silk fibers taken in lotus leaf stalks and astringent. The lotus silk in 2020 has been estimated as one the most expensive types of silk all over the world.
The whole process of yarn extraction, spinning of silk threads into yarn, and weaving of fabrics is completely by hand which makes the processing time-consuming. This also limits the amount of fabric produced. After being collected, the lotus stem will have to be cleaned of mud and thorns, the cleaner the stalk, the more beautiful the white silk thread. All lotus stalks must be treated within 24 hours, otherwise, the stalks dry out, and the silk will be completely damaged.
To get the silk, you have to use a knife to cut around the lotus stem, then twist and pull the silk with your hands, and at the same time make the lotus silk thread round. This stage must take place skillfully, do not cut too deep or it will break the silk thread inside. Lotus silk is not dyed much but often leaves the color rustic, including two colors ivory yellow and brown. Towels, shirts… from lotus silk are usually not as smooth, smooth, and beautiful as silk, but quite light and spongy.
The lotus strives to live in a murky environment. However, it grows bravely and reaches the light and heads to the sun, making people admire its beauty. The image of the lotus is considered an vital role of many religions, especially for Eastern people, as an icon of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, and rebirth.
The features of its life symbolize the process of being elegant and noble: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus produces the most beautiful flower. In Buddhism, it is believed that everyone has the potential to be enlightened, people can overcome the dirt in their thoughts, practice staying focused on their mind, and become Buddhist.
Buddhists believe that it’s necessary to be reborn thousands of times, polishing one’s been through many incarnations until one reaches nirvana – the highest state of consciousness that humans can access.
You can see the image of Buddha sitting on the lotus or moving on the lotus, and when he was born each step bloomed a lotus, just like the Lotus flower which starts its journey in the muddy water but surpasses the water and gives a perfect flower.
Most Vietnamese people consider the lotus flower the national flower. Besides its beauty, it represents health, elegance, honor, strength, and knowledge. From the mud, it grows toward the sun, and its seeds head to the sun as well, this is evidence that the lotus flower deserves to be honored and proud of its characteristics.
In northern Vietnam, the lotus is considered the flower of summer because it blooms tremendously in the summertime when the sun is most bright during the year.
Not only the lotus is beautiful but attractive in its smell and use. It symbolized the features of Vietnamese people with hospitality and kindness.
Vietnam has been considering many options for the national symbol. Many years ago, “Chim Lac” was suggested to be the image of the country, it is a kind of bird in Vietnamese legend. Vietnamese people usually carved this bird onto “Bronze Drum” as the sign of nobility; it also was the symbol of the Vietnamese forbidden kingdom Lac Viet (In Vietnamese, the word “Chim” means “Bird”.).
However, nowadays lotus is the symbol that most people think of when they imagine how Vietnamese people are. This kind of flower is very special. They live in the mud but still preserve its pure and upright pleasant scent.
Time flies, from when Vietnamese people overcame too many difficulties to defend the country and bravely grew up until today, we can see the strength and commitment. Not only lotus, but bamboo is also another symbol of Vietnamese people. The tree always stays vertical, even in poor soil it still can grow in the extreme weather; they are also like Vietnamese people: never surrender their hardship.
Vietnamese people’s life has a strong attachment to lotus, they include lotus in many folk songs, poems, cuisine, and many other cultural activities. Vietnamese consider the lotus as the image of purity, nobility, elegance, and knowledge. The characteristic of the lotus is the same as that of Vietnamese people, who grow from difficulties, but their mind always heads to the sun and the light, making other people admire and honor them.