The culture of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City has carried on the time-honored cultural values of the Vietnamese nation. This land is also home to numerous communities that coexist. This exhibition introduces a variety of traditions, rituals, beliefs, features of education, and traditional arts of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City.
The exhibition of “Culture of Sai Gon – Ho Chi Minh City” shows us the traditional culture imbued with Vietnamese national identity. The view of the Ruong house in the Southern region, the ancestral altar, the wooden panel with carved couplets as well as patterns of flowers and birds, and the meaningful couplets on the wooden urn; all have shown the ingenuity of carvers and are also typical features of the Southern region. The exhibition reconstructed the image of the bride and groom in traditional Ao Dai performing the wedding ceremony in front of the ancestral altar with the betrothal gifts including betel nut, areca, tea, wine, cake, fruit, wedding money, and a pair of solid brass candlesticks. Next to it is an exhibition area introducing 4 costumes of the bride and groom and describing the wedding ceremonies of the 4 most crowded ethnic groups living in Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City, which are: Viet, Hoa, Cham, and Khmer.
In addition, the “Culture of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City” room also introduces the custom of eating betel nuts through a collection of betel-eating utensils. This is a traditional culture, a time-honored custom that shows the unique traditional lifestyle of Vietnam.
In terms of customs and beliefs, the “Culture of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City” exhibition room introduces some worship beliefs such as worshiping God of Fortune, Earth God, Thanh Hoang, and Quan Cong; as well as the belief of worshiping mother goddesses such as Black Lady, “Chua Xu” Lady, “Ngu Hanh” Lady… Through the worshiping beliefs, we can understand more about the traditional beliefs of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City. Additionally, the clear cultural exchange has created diverse cultural features of the Southern region in general as well as Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City in particular.
About the art culture of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City, the exhibition room introduces two traditional and unique arts imbued with Vietnamese national identity: the art of “hat boi” and “cai luong”. With images, performance costumes, musical instruments, works, as well as scripts, visitors can gain a deeper comprehension as well as a clearer impression of the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the two traditional arts that contributed to the enrichment and diversity of the time-honored national art treasure. Besides, the exhibition room also introduces the five-tone orchestra. This is a unique art that has been carried down from generation to generation and is closely associated with the daily life of the Khmer people. It is a voice in one’s feelings and a desire to pass on beauty through the generations.
In terms of culture and education, the room introduces pictures and artifacts from classes, exams, study materials in the past, diplomas and certificates as well as some collected artifacts… All have shown that people from Saigon – Gia Dinh as well as other parts of the nation always keep the tradition of studiousness, as well as the respect for teachers and morals. This is evidence that the education here has helped to nurture numerous generations of well-known intellectuals and has disseminated patriotism as well as the revolutionary notion, especially in the current context of national construction and development.