Symbolizing the vigorous vitality of the Vietnamese people and bearing deep philosophical meaning, the lotus flower is crowned the unofficial national flower of Vietnam and rightfully so.
If you come to Vietnam during an Indochina tour, you can catch a glimpse of this beautiful flower and its images in every corner of this S-shaped country. So why is the lotus so venerated by the Vietnamese?
This article will provide you with more information about the lotus flower and the deep meanings hidden behind it and maybe you will have a different view on lotus flowers after getting to know these ethereal-smelling beauties.
Lotus Flower – The Symbol of Nobility
Vietnamese people see the lotus flower as a symbol of noble qualities. This belief is originated from Buddhism, the most prevalent religion in Vietnam, that only the lotus flower (the flower chosen to be the seat of Buddha himself) has enough philosophy meanings, insight about human life, and the vitality to represent the strength of Vietnamese people.
The Vietnam national flower incubates in the mud, a place of extreme darkness and filth, and grows from there patiently until it is able to rise high above the muddy water and send its elegant aroma everywhere. Buddhism considers the lotus flower to be the spiritual symbol of five basic things including “innocence” (it grows from dark and muddy places but isn’t affected by the bad surroundings), “purification” (when the lotus flowers grow and multiply,
They will make the once muddy water cool and fresher), “gentleness” (the lotus flower emits a pure aroma, not too passionate and overwhelming), “pureness” (during the course of its life, a lotus flower is never hit by a bee or butterfly, and “patience” (the lotus flower has a long growing process from its early stage deep in the mud until it can rise from the surface and bloom).
In addition to the five basic qualities, lotus seeds can be stored for hundreds of years and the life of this national flower also represents three separate layers of life according to Buddhism. Not only that the lotus flower also has some factors related to Buddhism, but it also carries many meanings about the five elements and human life.
From the lotus, one can reflect much about life and about people. As a result, the Vietnamese really appreciate the lotus flower and consider it a symbol of good quality in people. The image of the symbolic flower of the nation is also widely used in ancient arts, traditional cuisine, and became an indispensable part of Vietnamese culture.
Vietnam National Flower – Lotus in Literature
The image of the lotus is no longer strange in Vietnamese art and literature and is often used as a symbol of good human qualities. People use lotus flowers to talk about the noble people who are not affected by the bad surroundings or the ordinary. In short, the lotus often represents what is noble and good.
Vietnam National Flower – Lotus in Arts
In Vietnam, the image of lotus flower appears quite early in sculpture. During the course of history, the national flower of Vietnam have been used by artists in places of worship or in the cultural works of the community. During the peak of Buddhism when it was considered the state religion, the lotus flower is used in many works related to Buddhism such as in temples and pagodas. The theme of the Vietnam national flower also appears on the pottery with a realistic painting style. The lotus petals are decorated with other formal images such as dragons or strings of flowers.
During the time when Buddhism was suppressed, the lotus flower was still the subject of much attention. The image of lotus flower was not only used to decorate statues, buildings, but also in the imperial palace and the famous Temple of Literature.
The national flower of Vietnam has been the inspiration for many generations of Vietnamese artists, which is expressed in many forms of decorative art and sculpture specific to each period in the course of history. All of them express the eternal aesthetic value of the flower that penetrates deeply into the soul of the Vietnamese people.
Vietnam National Flower – Lotus in Cuisine
The Vietnam national flower of lotus not only has a place in the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people but also widely used in the unique cuisine of this Southeast Asian country. Parts of the lotus flower are processed into typical Vietnamese dishes such as lotus salad, sweetened lotus, and lotus tea.
The lotus flower has long been used in the exquisite process of marinating lotus tea. People marinate the tea at night when lotus flowers just start to bloom in the perfect harmony of the earth and sky. The tea is placed in the flowers before the flowers are carefully tied back to prevent them from blooming any further.
Through the night, the tea will absorb the delicate yet wonderful scent of the lotus flowers. People collect tea the next morning. The lotus tea of the ancient capital of Hue with pure aroma is very famous across the country. In addition, Hue people also use lotus flowers to cook lotus rice, which is one of the most famous dishes in Hue cuisine. The way to cook lotus rice is very demanding and only Hue people can cook the lotus rice properly.
Northern people often use lotus leaves to pack unique green rice. The green rice wrapped in the aromatic lotus leaves makes a perfect delicacy to enjoy during the cool months of the autumn in the capital city of Hanoi. The wonderful blend of lotus leaves and green rice can stay in your mind forever!