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Special talk on “betel and areca culture” marks Vietnamese Family Day

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

A special talk on “betel and areca culture” presented by Professor-Doctor Tran Ngoc Them was held at the Southern Women’s Museum in Ho Chi Minh City on June 25 to celebrate Vietnamese Family Day (June 28).

Teacher Phan Thi Thu Nguyet (C) instructed people how to arrange a “betel and areca tray” as part of wedding rites and worshipping ancestors.  (Photo: Sggp)

The popular custom of betel chewing is considered a long-standing aspect of traditional Vietnamese culture.

The habit of betel chewing includes three elements: betel and areca nuts, plus dehydrated lime.  The process is the source that inspired ancient people to compose the “Legend of betel and areca”- that highlights conjugal affection and brotherhood.

A dish of betel and areca nuts is always prepared for special ceremonies, especially Lunar New Year and weddings.

At festivals or parties, betel and areca nuts are arranged in a special way called tem trau canh phuong (betel nuts are made to look like the wings of a phoenix) which is a symbol of solemnity, skill and culture.

Traditionally, Vietnamese people usually invite their guests to chew betel before starting a conversation. This explains thoroughly the saying known to everyone: “A quid of betel and areca-nut starts the ball rolling.”

Professor Doctor Tran Ngoc Them said that the number of people chewing betel in rural areas is greater than in cities. Although life has modernized, the custom of betel chewing maintains an important role in the lives of Vietnamese people.

Teacher Phan Thi Thu Nguyet of the HCMC Women’s Cultural House instructed young people how to arrange a “betel and areca tray” as part of wedding rites and worshipping ancestors.

Source: SGGP