Customs and Beliefs
In the past, and even today, a traditional Vietnamese person
would comply with most or all of the following traditions
- The family is the basis of
society, not the individual
- Three to four generations
often live together in one home
- The family is patriarchal.
Within the family, the wife deals with all household matters,
and the husband deals with the outside world
are supported by married or unmarried children until death
written in the order of Family name, Middle name and Given
name, e.g. Nguyen Van Trung
The family name is placed first to emphasise a person's
with their parents until marriage
marry between the ages of 20 and 30, and women between
the ages of 18 and 25.
must be approved by the parents of both the male and female,
regardless of age
some Christians, the celebration of marriage takes place
in the home of one of the marriage partners or a hotel,
not in a church or temple
women keep their own names after marriage
The wife lives with
her husband's family. She is considered to ‘belong’ to
her husband's family and expected to do the housework
under the direction of her mother-in-law.
Before 1959, Vietnamese men could have several wives (polygamy)
ranked according to responsibility. Thereafter, only one
spouse remained married to the husband and second or subsequent
marriages were dissolved.
When a child is born, it is considered one year old.
The eldest son has a duty to perform ancestor worship
Brothers and sisters do not touch or kiss one another.
If a parent dies, the children customarily wait three
years before marrying.
If a wife dies, the husband must wait one year before
If a sibling dies, the other siblings must wait one year
To show respect, Vietnamese people bow their heads before
a superior or aged person.
While conversing, Vietnamese people don’t look steadily
at a respected person's eyes.
Women do not shake hands with each other or with men.
Women do not smoke in public.
Vietnamese never touch another's head. Only the elderly
can touch the head of a young child.
Persons of the same sex may hold hands in public and/or
sleep in the same bed without public derision.
Incest is punished by law and is strongly resented by
The legal concept of equality between the sexes is the
same as in Western countries, but socially, men are still
considered superior to women.