The Bandana and Áo Bà Ba (Vietnamese Silk Ensemble)

Despite having gone through many changes, the bandana and áo bà ba have not lost because they are the symbols characteristic of people in Mekong Delta region, especially women. They are also symbols of cultural identity that need preserving.

A woman in  bandanna and Áo Bà Ba
Since Nguyen Hoang defended Thuan Hoa, the costume of people in this area has not been different from that of Southern people. However, moving nearer to the South, the costume of Dang Trong residents presented more differences with the Dang Ngoai people’s costume.

Until the time of Lord Nguyen Phuoc Khoat, a significant change occurred in the reform in dress. The Court assigned that Dang Trong residents had to dress like the Chinese, women wore pants but not skirts as people in Dang Ngoai in order to create the difference in clothes between the two regions.

Until now, basically, the way of dressing of the residents in Mekong Delta has had the unity with other regions in the country. But due to the terrain, the weather, the climate, residents in Mekong Delta has chosen for them the suitable characteristic outfits.

The traditional Bandanna and Áo Bà Ba of people in Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta Residents live mainly based on agriculture. Agriculture forces people to toil and moil in the fields all year round; additionally, the weather conditions with two distinct seasons, rainy and sunny, affect deeply in the costumes of people in the Mekong Delta, that is, the main colors are black, brown, people rarely wear white clothes unless in feasts and festivals. In the old days, to dye the fabric, people used almond leaves, Combretum quadrangulare bark, mac leua fruits... as ingredients. Áo bà ba and bandanna used to be the popular clothes of inhabitants. So far, there have not been any documents which clearly identify the origin of áo bà ba. People only know that, in the early twentieth century, this shirt was worn quite popularly in the southern region.

In the past, farmers in the Mekong Delta usually wore black áo bà ba. The reason for this was that it was both clean and easy to wash. Cloth used to make áo bà ba is cotton or linoleum... which dries very quickly after being washed. Besides, áo bà ba has many practical uses such as the shirt is splited on two sides to make the wearer feel comfortable, there are two big pockets which are very useful for carrying small things such as rolling tobacco, matches, money... near the tail.

In the past, both men and women in Mekong Delta wore áo bà ba
Because of this usability and comfort, áo bà ba is wore by both men and women in Mekong Delta even while they are working in the fields, going to the market/ shopping, going out ... However, when they are out, they often choose lighter colors, like white, ashy colour. As for the girls, the women, they choose the green, bright blue áo bà ba... which is made from more expensive fabrics ...

Áo bà ba has been the favorite clothes of both the old and the young
Life goes by hurriedly. Although time can make a lot of value to change, on the paths in everywhere, the mothers, the girls still choose áo bà ba as a choice of the beauty of Vietnam countryside’s soul. Over a long period of time, while the other beauties seemed to be unable to keep, the image of áo bà ba lived forever in the traditional values of the women in South in particular and the beauty of Vietnamese people in general.

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Part 2 : The Bandana (Black and White Scarf) and Áo Bà Ba (Vietnamese Silk Ensemble)

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