The Culture Series: People and Culture of Vietnam

Vietnam includes over fifty recognized ethnic groups. The majority ethnic group is the Kinh (pronounced similarly to “king”) people group. According to the 2009 census, the Kinh people are in every province, with the highest percentages in urban cities such as Hanoi, Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), and Danang.

Vietnamese (Kinh) people are unique. They are industrious, forgiving, hospitable, and maintain deep cultural roots juxtaposed with a profound sense of curiosity. They are hardworking and frugal. They are quick to forgive but never forget. They apply much grace to what they choose to remember about their history. They are caring and kind, and they adhere to many socially oriented customs that show respect and honor with both genuineness and compassion.

Similar to other surrounding nations, the government holds some of the greatest influence on the people, and there are levels of leadership appointed to every tier of living, from national to city to community officials. Even so, teachers and grandparents are also so highly respected that their influence on society is profound.

There is a certain curiosity among students and neighbors that is both intriguing and difficult for teachers to navigate relationally. The Kinh people somehow remain open-minded while still clinging deeply to generations of long-held beliefs. It is a beautiful, complex mix.