SCSU experiences an adventure to Vietnam

Did you know that eighty percent of Vietnamese people share the same last name, but are not related? This was an interesting fact that was shared at the cultural event that took place this weekend. Vietnamese night took place on campus at St. Cloud State in the Atwood Ballroom, Saturday, November 15. Students and community members had the opportunity to join in for, “Bonjour Vietnam” presented by the Vietnamese Student Association.
SCSU has a long tradition of hosting cultural programs that are available to both St. Cloud State students and the community. The cultural program is planned and put on mostly by students with some faculty that want to share their culture. These events feature performances in native dress, dancing, music, as well as food.
The tables prepared in the ballroom each featured handcrafted origami flowers, each containing their own candle to create a cozy atmosphere. With that, and approximately 150 people in attendance, the cultural program on Vietnam began.
There were students there that represented various ethnic groups, each of which attended the event for different reasons.
“I am taking an education abroad class and the instructor recommended this event to the class,” said Teoua Xiong, a transfer student. “I attended because I was curious about Vietnam, and since I am going there I wanted to see what they have to offer and become familiar with the culture.”
To start the event, the Vice President of Student Life and Development, Dr. Wanda Overland; VSA Advisor, Angie Witte; and the VSA President Mia Nguyen spoke by introducing the event and thanking all those who volunteered to help make it possible.
The event was featured as an adventure to Vietnam, as presented by the emcees. Through an eventful sequence, the crowd was taken on a trip to major cities located in north, south and the center of Vietnam. Throughout the show, there were various performances that featured vocalists, dancing and skit
The first performance featured the song De Em Roi Xa as performed by Valerie Ang, Mia Nguyen and Pravin Dangol. This exemplified the street performances that are part of the culture in Vietnam.
When featuring pictures and explanations of Southern Vietnam, Robin Le, Dangol, David Trinh, Linda Vang, Pei Jun Tan, and Tiffany Tran performed a Hat Dance. Their dance was said to represent celebrations after having a successful harvest. Hat Dances are one of the most common traditional dances in Vietnam. They feature women’s grace and depict daily life activities,especially farming, as agriculture has been the main way of living of Vietnamese since the ancient times.
As the trip moved along to central Vietnam, Quyen Tran, Thanh Dao, Shashi Pham, Trang Phung, Nguyen, and Ang treated the audience to a Fan Dance that was performed. The dance was an example of the intricate dances of the Vietnamese that were often performed at Imperial court. These dances are performed in extravagant costumes and generally require great skill.
Following central Vietnam was a Drum Dance that was performed by Tu Le, Robin Le, Keng Yang, Vivian Hern, Nhi Kieu and Duong Nguyen. This dance is common in ceremonies and dances in Vietnam, typically during festivals and ceremonies from village to national levels.
Other parts of the event featured skits that explained the tradition of the annual floods that occur in Vietnam. It was the tale of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh that told the story of the king trying to find a talented suitor for his daughter, the princess. In the end, Thuy Tinh, the god of the oceans and rain did not win the hand of the princess and desperately tries to win her over by killing her husband Son Tinh by bringing floods upon the land each year.
Students concluded with another song and dance, followed by a fashion show. Grace Mertz, an SCSU student said, “This is the best culture night we have been to so far. I really enjoyed the skit that told the traditional legend; it was amazing. Their skit made the legend very relatable to us!”

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