There is a story about how thousands of years ago, during the 6th Hung dynasty, a three-year-old boy appeared lớn drive out foreign invaders with a bamboo stick. Though obviously a myth, the story symbolizes the bamboo’s importance in Vietnamese history.

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Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world

In the modern era, bamboo ramparts offered protection and hiding places khổng lồ the Vietnamese army during the war and punji sticks made of bamboo stakes were lethal booby traps.

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The plant, which is actually a grass, is so symbolic of Vietnamese spirit and culture that it has earned itself a hallowed place in literature, folk music, & stories. School children are taught the legend of the poor farmer who managed khổng lồ marry his feudal lord"s beautiful daughter by procuring with the help of God a bamboo tree with 100 knots.

Then there is the poem “Tre Viet Nam”, or Vietnamese bamboo, that every high school student has to lớn learn:

“Tre xanh Xanh tự lúc nào Truyện thời xưa đã gồm bờ tre xanh Thân gầy guộc, lá muốn manh mà lại sao phải luỹ, nên thành tre ơi Ở đâu tre cũng xanh lè Cho dù cát sỏi đá vôi bội nghĩa màu… loài tre đâu chịu mọc cong mới lên đã thẳng như chông kỳ lạ thường”

(Green bamboosThey are green from time immemorialAncient stories mention green bamboo hedgesTheir stems are thin, leaves slenderBut they can become ramparts và citadelsThey are green everywhereBe their land infertile filled with pebbles & limestone… Bamboos trees always grow up straightEven when it is still very young, it stands surprisingly straight like a punji stick)

Eternal, undaunted spirits

Being evergreen, fast-growing, tall, straight, and very flexible, the plant has for centuries come khổng lồ represent the strong, straightforward, but resilient character of the Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese consider bamboo one of the four noble plants symbolic of the nation’s spirit and its endurance, the other three being mai (apricot), lan (orchid), and cuc (chrysanthemum).

A popular proverb: “tre gia mang moc” (When the bamboo is old, sprouts will appear), indicates that very durability: though the previous generation dies, the next takes its place and, thus, the Vietnamese nation & its values will always be sustained.

In fact, bamboo was the first species of plant to regenerate after the Americans destroyed Vietnam’s forests using the dioxin Agent Orange. It is also one of the fastest growing plants in the world.Some scientists theorize that Vietnam’s is a “bamboo” rather than the popularly accepted “wet-rice” culture.

Utility

The bamboo is probably the plant with the widest array of uses in the world. When treated, bamboo is a very hard wood which is both lightweight và exceptionally tough & can be made into furniture, home decorations, lawn và garden accessories, fences, poles, hats, martial arts weapons, & scaffolding for construction, woven as handicrafts or baskets, and used as a substitute for steel to lớn reinforce concrete.

It is also used khổng lồ build bridges, toilets, walking sticks, canoes, tableware, fishing rods, smoking pipes, & kite frames.

Every meal in Viet nam will feature the ubiquitous chopstick. Though now chopsticks are also made from plastic or even ivory, they are traditionally & predominantly made from bamboo.

The plant has also found its way into the world of traditional music -- instruments lượt thích flutes and dan bau (monochord) are made from it. Houses and restaurants across Viet nam use bamboo stems và leaves in their floors, walls, roofs, & furniture.

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The shoot of the bamboo is used in a variety of Vietnamese recipes.Shaved young shoots, the resin (both fluid và dried), & leaves are considered khổng lồ have medicinal properties và can clear toàn thân ‘heat’ & phlegm, cure acute fevers, convulsions, bleeding, & vomiting.

Of the many plant species in Viet Nam, probably none is as widely distributed & as close to the life of the people as the bamboo.

There are estimated khổng lồ be 200,000 square miles of bamboo forests & nearly half of all villages across the country grow bamboo.

The tree is considered as a mascot against bad luck as people believe unhappiness can be driven out & good fortune ushered in if they plant a tall bamboo in front of their homes during the Lunar New Year (Tet).

The tradition continues until this day with bows, arrows, bells, và gongs hung on this special tree which is called “cay neu”.