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Out-of-wedlock children are not generally approved; their birth is severely censored: Polygamy is illegal but some men have a second, unofficial wife. In the past polygynous marriages were common and aristocratic men kept concubines but monogamy is now the norm. Polygyny was widespread in both northern and central Vietnam, as was the taking of concubines.
Besides the so-called wife of the first rank, a household sometimes included a second and third wife and their children. The consent of the first wife was required before this arrangement could be made, but, more often than not, additional wives either were established by the husband in separate households or were permitted to continue living as they had before marriage, in their own homes or with parents.
Major family reform was initiated under a new law enacted in and put into effect in The law's intent was to protect the rights of women and children by prohibiting polygyny forced marriage, concubinage, and abuse.
It was designed to equalize the rights and obligations of women and men within the family and to enable women to enjoy equal status with men in social and work-related activities. In conjunction with the law, a mass campaign was launched to discourage, as wasteful, the dowries and lavish wedding feasts of an earlier era.
Young people were advised not to marry before the age of twenty for males and eighteen for females and to have no more than two children per household. In March , Associated Press: The government directive says authorities will respect some marriage traditions of ethnic groups, but "backward'' customs will be strictly prohibited or discouraged, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
Banned customs include wife robbery, in which women are forced to wed, and marriages of men and women of the same bloodline within three generations. The directive also forbids the practice of forcing widows or widowers to marry a family member of their dead spouse, and the practice of demanding large gifts for marriages..
Members of ethnic minorities held protests in Vietnam's Central Highlands a year ago over government restrictions on religion, and the coercive policies of local officials. Associated Press, March 30, ]. In October , AFP reported: Tran Viet Chu, a year-old from the central province of Quang Tri, who spent 60 years travelling the country while working in the building trade, married at 17 but his first wife died 10 years later. Chu soon tied the knot again but nevertheless brought another 14 "wives" into his household over the next half-century.
I seem to have been born with this flirtatious tendency," he told the Cong An Nhan Dan People's Police newspaper last week. Marriages are regarded primarily as a social contract and traditionally they were arranged by the parents through intermediaries.
The parents' choice was influenced more by considerations affecting the welfare of the lineage than by the preferences of the participants. Today, although arranged marriages are technically against the law many marriages are still arranged by parents, often with the help of matchmakers and sometimes before their children have reached puberty.
To go against their wishes is considered dishonorable. Marriages have traditionally been arranged by parents with the help of go-betweens and the strong influence of elders. Partners were selected on the basis of family connections, wealth, social status, religion and village. The mother of the girl has traditionally been very sensitive to the possibility of being dishonored and went out of her way to make sure everything checked out before agreeing to the marriage.
The final decision was made after consulting a fortuneteller who made sure the horoscopes of the boy and girl were compatible and auspicious. The arrangement was formally sealed with the payment of bride price to a fund controlled by the village or community where the girl lived. Parents are interested in securing a good mate for their child out of concern for their future. It is not unusual for parents to desire a mate of high status with a career that will be lucrative, such as doctor or lawyer.
Though rarely given absolute choice, family still bears heavy influence over the decision to marry. Astrology is an important consideration in choosing a marriage partner among ethnic Vietnamese.
Compatible mystical affinities among bride and groom will allow them to marry in keeping with the harmony of the universe; incompatible readings indicate discord which will result in serious martial difficulty. This question of mystical affinities is based on the Chinese concept that three essential factors must be considered: The five major planets with a significant influence on human lives and the items that represent them on earth are: Each of these elements can build up or destroy one another according to this theory.
That is to say: Fire helps soil but destroys metal while soil helps metal. Wood destroys soil while water helps wood. Water destroys fire while metal helps water. Metal destroys wood while wood helps fire.
Since individuals at birth come under the auspices of at least one of the above planets, it is imperative to make sure that two which oppose each other are not united.
A man born under Venus marrying a girl of Mars would find arguments, unhappiness, etc. Similarly, if the man is of fire influence and the wife of water, countless arguments, poverty and perhaps divorce is their predetermined fate; but if man is under influence of fire and the girl of wood, they will have many children and prosperity.
If both are born under the influence of the same planet or its earth representation, things begin to get complicated. Many books and "authorities" have to be consulted in order to determine the exact situation. However, astrology is only one of the three major factors which must be pondered in considering marriage. Strange to the western ear, the thought of romance is not a major factor, if considered at all.
In fact, several lovely Buddhist young ladies informed the interviewer that the question of love would not be discussed inasmuch as marriage is a family affair and not the personal affairs of two people. One of them speaking for the group said that she would marry whomever her mother chose for her regardless of what she might think of the groom. She added that it would be better to be married to a poor man, an ugly man, or a bad man than to bring unhappiness to her mother.
How different are the ideas of many young women in other parts of the earth with which we are acquainted! The cyclical calendar of the Vietnamese is used in choosing marriage partners. Now while some of the animals can live on good terms together, others cannot: Yet most of these cyclical animals cannot stand one another, and according to the matchmakers guidebooks, this animosity is expressible in four degrees of difference.
These degrees are luc sung disagreement , luc hinh argument , luc hai violence or harm , and juc tuyat kills. The first of these degrees of continuous disagreement is between: The third degree of inflicting physical harm of the first to the second is: The fourth and most permanent degree is that of killing of the second by the first: Analysis of these tables makes it apparent that a man born under the auspices of the tiger might find happiness with a girl born in the year of the pig.
He should avoid marriage, however, with a girl born in the year of the serpent, the monkey or the cock. The tiger-serpent alliance would be quarrelsome; the tiger-monkey would result in fisticuffs; and the tiger-cock union might result in death for the girl. While Communism might well have begun to make changes in the thinking of the Chinese in Red China, the consultation of a "learned man" or fortune teller is sought in much of rural Vietnam, and perhaps even in the cities more than generally admitted.
She says he is the only man who would accept her "just the way she is. Huong, however, is not the only one who has started thinking this way. Like other traditional societies, Vietnamese society too is in the throes of socio-economic and cultural changes.
The shift to a market economy in the early s improved material life of the people in general. More and more women in urban Vietnam are also discovering the value of freedom in their relationships. Some feel that the new generation of Vietnamese men, especially those who spend time in the West, are better equipped for equal relationships. Others seek different options. Hong Anh, for instance, married an Indian man, Hari Chathrattil, because as she says there is no way she would have put up with the "ridiculous petty minded demands" that a Vietnamese man makes on his wife or girlfriend.
Ba's work as a freelancer for WWF takes her away tom home, which she says would be a big problem for a Vietnamese man. Open-mindedness is important in the list of qualities that women, in Vietnam are seeking in men. Thu Ba's husband Chathrattil, who teaches in a local college, was even asked by male students in his English class to explain why some Vietnamese women preferred to marry foreigners. While men traditionally live with their parents even after they marry, this custom is also gradually changing.
In the past, economic constraints prevented couples from setting up an independent establishment. But more and more Vietnamese women are a part of the work force, and continue to hold their jobs even after they marry and have children. The number of day-care centers, referred to as 'semi-boarding' schools, that are springing up in the cities is evidence of this new phenomenon.
At the end of the day, if they do not get what they want from a man, more Vietnamese women say they would rather stay single. And being over thirty and single is becoming more and more acceptable. Most single women are comfortable with their status and living arrangements. Twenty nine-year old Bao An, who works as a leading salesperson in a pharmaceutical company too is happy being single.
She and her two siblings moved from Vietnam's central province to Ho Chi Minh City in to have access to better education and good jobs. While she would like to have a boyfriend, Bao An is against living together outside a marital situation. Keeping this clanged position - and thinking - of women in mind, the National Assembly agreed last month that the Marriage and Family law, passed in , needed to be made more specific and progressive, even while it continued to preserve the traditional and moral values of Vietnamese society.
After five days of deliberations, many fundamental principles on marriage and family were adopted. These included "voluntary and progressive" marriages, monogamy, spousal equality, lack of discrimination in the treatment of sons and daughters and the right of a single woman to tear a child. Officials in Dong Nai province are reportedly turning a blind eye to the indelicate scenario.
Mr Hung recommended they divorce and remarry their new spouses, however. In Vietnam girls are often carefully chaperoned. It is important for women to be virgins on their wedding night. By contrast many men have had sex with prostitutes before marriage. One blogger wrote on xuvn.
In Vietnam, dating is considered an adolescent issue. Traditionally, Vietnamese males and females are not allowed to date. Women of Vietnam are ordinarily non-assertive and are raised to be quiet and dainty. They simply grew up in their family until age 18 to Youths who have affections for one another may carry their relationship in secrecy, but eventually, and dutifully, yield to their parents' wills.
Dating is believed to undermine traditions, encouraging sons and daughters to defy their parents' wishes and thus bringing shame to their family.
Public displays of affection by couples, including holding hands, touching, kissing, are still considered impolite and must be done privately. His date does not. By accepting his gifts and flowers, she is officially accepting his love. But however deep her love, she is expected to remain a virgin until they are married.
Females in Vietnam are more withdrawn and shy and usually do not make the first move in starting a relationship. If a young man finds someone he likes, he must formally introduce himself to her family and seek their approval before he can date her.
This usually requires him to meet with her parents and family members in their house several times. After several regular visits, when he has gotten to know her family, he may finally ask her parents for permission to date her. As of , many of these traditions of dating etiquette are still practiced but expectations vary from family to family due to changes in the country. Expressing proper etiquette when trying to date in Vietnam is necessary to avoid offending the family of the person you are courting.
Let your intentions be known by asking her for the chance to meet her parents. Gaining their permission to date their daughter is a traditional and respectful way of getting a Vietnamese girl to date you.
Take your time, and bring gifts of wine or flowers to the girl's family to further gain their acceptance, as it is customary for a man to participate in activities with the parents multiple times before asking the woman out on an official date. Dating a Vietnamese man requires patience, virtue and class.
Initiating a date as a woman is often frowned upon in Vietnamese culture, and therefore the proper etiquette would be to wait for the man to approach you. Coming on to a man is a sign of an "easy" woman in this Asian tradition and speaking loudly is also looked down upon.
The blogger on xuvn. Taking a Vietnamese woman to a movie on a first date is traditionally unacceptable and is a cultural sign of an immoral woman. A traditional first date of a walk in a park or cup of coffee is a low-key and respectful way of initiating a relationship in Vietnam. Keep the first date at a platonic level, because the first date in Vietnamese culture is often a date accompanied by mutual friends.
Avoid initiating physical contact whether you are a man or a woman, because Vietnamese culture looks down on premarital affection and public displays of affection. Playing hard-to-get is a tradition of Vietnamese women, and it is expected they do not show immediate interest in the man they are dating, to assure that his feelings are moral.
Asking permission in addition to presenting a gift to her parents is necessary to continue the relationship in Asian culture. Avoiding the girl's parents is considered a great act of disrespect and can result in losing a relationship. Arranged marriage is rarely practiced in modern Vietnam as of , but it is still a tradition in some families.
Waiting too long to express your intentions, as a man, can result in missing out in this type of situation. Vietnamese women are expected to remain silent when it comes to arranging a marriage between her suitor and herself, whether it is a prearranged marriage or a result of a mutual courtship.
Vietnamese relationships pass in several stages, usually lasting for a long period of time. An engagement, for example, often lasts for several years and as far as marriage is concerned, it is viewed as a lifetime commitment. Often the starting point of a relationship is a friendly date.
The couple will go out together in public places as friends only and will be accompanied by other friends. During this stage of courting there will be no public displays of affection, the man has to be discreet and friendly or he will be accused of being too arrogant.
It is too early for kissing or holding hands at this point. That is the second stage of Vietnamese courtship and now couples may go out together without the company of their friends.
Again, the keyword here is "discreetly". A Vietnamese girl never shows her admirer that she is also in love with him immediately. Playing hard to get is one way by which the Asian can measure the sincerity of the man interested in her. It also lets her show the man that he has to work hard to win her love. At this time they will inform their family and friends about their relationship. Every man who wants to be taken seriously by a Asian is obliged to visit her family and introduce himself formally to her parents.
There is a tacit rule here that says: Following this rule will help you earn her respect by entrusting her family with high regard. If you have any questions regarding which traditions you should observe, you may discuss them with the older siblings. More about this tradition and those following it you can find in our article "Vietnamese Wedding Customs". When courting a Vietnamese woman you will find that she is shy and reserved even when holding great feelings for you.
This is a part of her culture and even for a Western man there is no way around that. You should treat your Asian with respect, lead the courtship with your heart and you may find a lifetime partner that will enrich your life as you have never imagined. Asian women live in a culture focused on the community, with the family as the core social unit. Paradoxically, should their beloveds are going to reach 30, they would certainly urge him or her to get married.
Accordingly, arranged marriage is not uncommon in Vietnam. In the countryside, a true love does not necessarily lead to marriage owing to family pressure. In exchange for a safe and secure life, the concept of love of many Vietnamese women have changed from romantic feelings to sense of security, although there is no guarantee that a family is stable without true love.
Tip for dating in Vietnam: Group Booking Request Please input your request content. Phone number Please input your phone number. Want to book or customize? Choose from our variety of booking option! About love and relationships in Vietnam In some countries, love is often accompanied by sex.