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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Celebration of Women and War

VIETNAM | Friday, 28 April 2017 | Views [396]

A lot of the sights in Hanoi you can see just walking around the city. The traffic alone is a sight in itself, the real hustle and bustle draws you in and it's unnerving how quickly you become a part of it. A few days ago the need to cross a road had me terrified, now I was crossing like a pro with nerves of steel (at least that's what I'm telling myself).
But Hanoi does have a few attractions to actually visit.
First off we headed to the Women's museum. We really had no idea what to expect from this place. The entrance fee was 30,000 Dong per person (just over £1). The place looks impressive from the outside, with its coloured glass windows against the white walls and a spread of artwork lining the entrance, all images of different generations of Vietnamese women. When you step through the doors you are greeted by a stunning yellow gold statue of a woman and a small child. It's very grand and dominating in the centre of the entrance, surrounded again by more beautiful art work.
The museum is split over 4 floors with an art gallery on the 5th. The floors are split into categories listed as -

Marriage
Family life
Women in history
Women's fashion
Mother Goddess

Each one gives an insight into women's life in Vietnam and celebrates their achievements and accomplishments.
The marriage section explains how different cultures in Vietnam perform weddings, but generally they have similar formats. Tradition is for brides and grooms to be matched in age, but marry as young as 14. There are many exchanges of gifts and dowries and the wedding celebrations can can las for months, one stated they marry again a year after the first marriage which then completes the welcoming to each other's families.
I keep asking the hubby if we can get married again but for some reason he just isn't having it... spoil sport!

Family life is similar to what we would consider 'traditional' in the sense that the husband goes out to work, usually labouring, and the wife looks after the children and keeps house. But as with our own culture, this has progressed and now the wives also go out to work and provide for their families. We watched a short video showing women vendors in Hanoi who travel from small villages for 2-3 weeks at a time to earn money for their families, because they can't live and provide for their children on what their husbands earn.

The women in history focused widely on the countries history of conflict. Pictures and descriptions portrayed heroes and matriarchs who had displayed selfless courage and bravery to support their country and cause during times of war. Of course the accuracy of the information could be questioned but it is interesting to see how women are encouraged and respected enough to be able to take up positions of power successfully. This floor celebrates the women who achieved that.

Fashion isn't really my thing, anyone who knows me knows this! But this floor consisted of mainly traditional dress, lots of embroidery and techniques such as appliqué and batik. The detail achieved of some of the garments is astounding when you consider that it was all created by the hand of an individual woman, in her home, using tools using such basic tools.

Then onto worshipping of the Mother Goddess. The whole place had a theme of worship and appreciation to women. The creators of life. This one attempts to explain the roots of this. I say attempt because although there are many information boards and descriptions there is little to link them together to give you a proper understanding of the belief of the culture.
What we did understand was, there are 4 palaces of the Mother Goddess religion, Heaven, Water, Earth, Mountains &Forests. Each one is represented by a colour and there are short videos that we assumed showed how people worshiped to each Palace. They worship to welcome health, good fortune and prosperity in daily life.
And that was the museum, strangely organised, some irrelevant displays, some displays we couldn't understand because they didn't have English translations, but some very interesting information about the culture and history of Vietnam.

For the rest of the day we walked, and walked, and walked some more. We knew we wanted to move soon so we considered our options and decided we would move North to a town called Sa Pa before we headed South. We booked a bus ticket through our very helpful receptionist at the guest house. Again, we are left to wonder what we have let ourselves in for.

Tags: celebrating women, culture, hanoi, history, marriage, museum, travel, vietnam, war, women

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