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Once upon a time, there was a very poor newly-wed couple who earned for living by being hired labors.
Although they’re poor, they were deeply in love with each other.
In a year of bad harvest, a lot of people were starved. The couple tried to seek for a job but no one hired them. Therefore, they had to go fishing or go into the woods to seek for the vegetables. Poverty made their lives so hard and tough. One day, the husband told the wife that: “I have to go somewhere else to find a job, I cannot stand anymore”.
The wife wanted to follow the husband. However, the husband said: “I still don’t know where I will go and what I will do for sure. You shouldn’t follow me as I may die on the way. Or If I am lucky enough, I will bring the money back. You just have to wait for me for 3 years. After 3 years if you don’t see me back, it’s time for you to have a new life, with a new partner.”
When the wife heard that, she cried as she was facing the death of the husband. Since there’s no way to deal with this situation, she had to let him go.
After the husband left, the wife found a job which helped to keep her away from the famine. The wife did her job so well that the employer, who was a widower, had an eye on her. He wanted to proposed her but she still remembered what her husband said, so she decided to keep waiting for her husband.
Time flies, 3 more years passed. There was still no news about the husband. The man convinced her again:
“Your husband may now have a new family or he may die. It’s hard to see him again. From now on, we have a new family, I promise to give you a wealthy and happy life for the rest of your life”
The woman agreed. They held a small party as a wedding.
Unluckily, 3 months later, the ex-husband came back. Now he was a beggar. He came to the house of the new husband and suddenly saw his wife. They talked. The new husband was not at home so the wife invited him to have a meal. Unexpectedly, the new husband came back. The ex-husband didn’t want to put his wife into trouble so he hid in a heap of straws. The new husband didn’t notice that there’s someone in the heap; therefore, he fired the straw to grill the hunted deer.
The woman was so anxious when she knew that her husband was burnt in the heap. Because of love and caring, she jumped into the big heap of fire to save her ex-husband but she couldn’t. Witnessing that scene, the new husband couldn’t help but followed the wife. As a result, three of them died.
After death, their spirits went to the hell. They met the king of hell. Knowing that these three people were so in love and loyal to each other, the king of hell decided to make them become the gods of kitchen. They’re the symbol of the unconditional love in a family. They’re the ones who witness and record everything happening in a family during a year. Then, on December 23rd according to lunar calendar, they come to the heaven to report their record to the God. If we do good things then we’ll be paid back the goodness. Otherwise, we’ll be punished.
By Khiet Nhu
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According to Vietnamese tradition, when asking someone to hang out, you should always bring enough money to pay the bill. When going out eating, drinking and relaxing—especially men getting together for a drink: a pretty popular pastime—it is not considered appropriate to “go Dutch” with a Vietnamese. If you run into someone at restaurant and you join his table, let him pay the whole bill or pay it all yourself. The senior person usually pays. However, to decline of an offer of a meal is considered polite.
Vietnamese rarely make appointments and they will often arrive late in order not to appear overly “enthusiastic”. Vietnamese custom dictates that if you want to invite guests to your party, it implies that have selected the menu as well as organised the restaurant. And as the person issuing the invitation, you will certainly be expected to pay the bill.
By and large, at class reunions or meetings with friends and colleagues, Vietnamese have a tendency to split the bill with one another because most such gatherings consist of many people and any one person might find it difficult to settle the whole bill himself. However, you can take responsibility for this as long as you can afford it. And it is common practice in our nation that if someone is willing to pay the bill on a given occasion, the next time it will be another’s turn to pay. Vietnamese people often say the word “bao” or “ đãi” meaning “It’s my treat” in this case.
One way in which in Vietnamese culture is very different from Western culture is that on dates between couples, it is always the man who takes care of the payment. The man does this in order to show his qualities as a gentleman. Additionally, he will look after his date by cleaning her cutlery and placing food in her bowl. The man preferring to pay for dinner is considered normal behaviour in our country.
In Vietnam it is also customary to invite customers or partners for a drink or a coffee in order to conduct a business negotiation and may even sign the contract at the drinks table. Typically, places are chosen that have areas suitable for both relaxation and work.
Vietnamese people are well known for their hospitality. They enjoy spending time meeting people they get on well with and will often build relationships through drinking or eating out. This is a characteristic of Vietnamese culture.
By Loan Phan