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Yếm đào

It is veried in size and color.

It is veried in size and color. It is a hand-made product. Traditionerlly, a Vietnamese girl sould make her own Yem when she reached the age of puberty, with the assistance of her mother.

Yem played an important role in the spiritual life of rural Vietnam. The image of Yem served as a sysbol of unspoken love of the Vietnamese women, wich was enshrined in the regional folklore and literature.

Woman also worn Yem in traditional music performances at festivals held at the front yard of a village communal house, or at religious worshipping ceremanies in tempes or pagodas.

And on those occasions, Yem was taken as an indicator of feminine beauty:

There are three girls carrying rice to donete to the pagoda
The charm of maiden in scarlet Yem distracts the monk’s heart

And, when the time to be in love came, the girl in country must show her affections in a secretive and desirable way. Influenced by the ideology of the feudal regime, traditions of Vietnam forbade a young girl to directly express her affection. It was unacceptable. Thus, Yem was used to inderectly declare her love:

I Wish the river was one-span narrow
I Would Build the bridge with the ribs of Yem, and invite you to be with me.

These beautiful verses are bold and tender, and they are highly respected. They also encourage us to be compassionate towards the fuedal women, who upon marriage, bore the faith of a starling bird, as often sung in Vietnam folklore. As love is complicated, sometimes marriage does not match with the desires of the heart.

The man:

“The opening of yellow chrysanthemum turns out to be in purple one.
Damn all! Getting married with another, return Yem to me”

The woman:

“Let’s see the yellow chrysanthemum opening may be in green I wear the Yem of my own, now you have no right to claim”

Shocked by the fact that his lover got married, he does a foolish thing by asking her of the most sensitive gift. But his fomer fian-cee’s answer is not easily understood. She replies, “Forget the past. But the past will be unforgettable”. In other words, though she does not give him her Yem, she will not be able to forget him…

Nowadays, it is quite difficult for you to come across a woman wearing Yem. It is only available at museums or at traditional music shows. It is considered unfashionable and is unatractive to the Western aesthetics, thus regrettably, is becoming historical.

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Customs & Habits

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Language and Literature

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Art performance

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