Vietnam contains a rich mixture of religions, reflecting the influences of many cultures. Traditional Vietnamese religion included elements from Indian beliefs and three Chinese religious systems: Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Other religions include relatively new sects such as Hoa Hao, associated with Buddhism, and Caodaism, a synthesis of Christianity, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic church, claims as many as 6 million followers.
Poetry has long been the most popular and powerful form of literature in Vietnam, and poets have always been highly respected. Most people can recite at least a few verses of "Kim Van Kieu," a poem that deals with love and sacrifice. This work of more than 3,000 lines was written by the poet Nguyen Du, who lived during the late 1700's and early 1800's.
Novels began to gain wide popularity in Vietnam during the years of French rule. They remain popular, especially in the south. But the Communist leaders now carefully regulate the books the people may read.
Vietnamese painting shows the influence of both ancient Chinese and modern French art. Examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture include mostly pagodas (temples), tombs, and old royal palaces.
VIETNAMESE LEGENDS AND FOLKTALES
The Legend of the Vietnamese Roots & The Mid-Autumn Tale
The Buffalo and the Banyan Tree
Da Trang's Crabs
The King's Cat and the People's Cat
The Danger of Laughing in One's Sleep
CUSTOMS AND VALUES
Vietnamese Customs--traditional dress, dating and marriage, and much more
Vietnamese Characteristics--physical contact, smiling, and traits
Vietnamese Values--family values
World Book 98 Encyclopedia