Asia Pacific Travel Team
Although the village of Tay Tuu was one of the last to switch from traditional farming to cultivating flowers, following the lead of villages like Ngoc Ha and Quang Ba, it has blossomed into being considered the flower granary of Hanoi.
Tay Tuu has become famous for its large variety of beautiful flowers that not only grace local markets but are also exported abroad, and all the households in the village have become involved in this industry.
Farmers in Tay Tuu used to specialise in traditional agriculture but this yielded a low income. In the 1990s, however, the farmers changed to growing flowering plants and spices.
These crops brought in good profits and the standard of living in the village improved markedly. The Tay Tuu villagers first planted daisies imported from Taiwan and Singapore, but now are concentrating on growing roses on a large scale.
Roses currently account for 70 to 80% of all the flowers cultivated in the region. "Roses have a much better economy of scale than daisies, because rose bushes are productive for four or five years and can be harvested all year round, while daisy plants give only two crops, "said Phong, a farmer.
He added that people may think it is easy to farm with flowers but this is not the case. In reality, a high quality flower field requires very special attention to the minutest details, and the entire crop can go to waste if something went wrong.
The first stage in establishing a flower farm is to prepare the fields by marking furrows with a milling machine and growing seedlings. The second stage - the most important and difficult, as it determines whether a tree will survive or not - is grafting nodes onto the young trees after two months' growth.
The grafted plants require special care for the next 20 days, after which the grafts' nylon coverings are removed to allow the grafted shoots to grow.
It takes another three months before the flowers can be harvested, during which time a lot of work such as weeding and spraying insecticide has to be done in the fields.
Phong said that growing flowers is as difficult as growing rice, but the revenue from flowers is much higher at 5mil VND per sdo (360sq.m). This has prompted many households in Tay Tuu to rent extra land from the neighbouring Thuy Phuong Commune to plant more flowers.
He said he had received many orders on the last Women's Day from Hanoi's flower shops, other provinces and even fulfilled a big order from the central province of Quang Tri.
Phong proudly showed off his immense field covered in all kinds of roses. The colourful field is testimony to his efforts as well as those of other successful flower farmers in the village./.
Dong Xam Silver Village is located in Hong Thai Commune, the north of Kien Xuong District, Thai Binh Province. From 1681 up to now, the silvercraft skills in Dong Xam villages (Hong Thai district, Kien Xuong province) are still reserved as secret, inherited skills and like other traditional handicraft, the silvercraft of Dong Xam village has had to face a lot of challenges.
During the feudal regime, to be able to inherit and learn the silvercraft skill was very difficult, moreover, the difficulty in good exchange activities between areas within small consumption market at that time had limited the silvercraft development.
After the war, from 1954, Dong Xam craftmen joined together with great determination to revive the traditional workshops. Cooperatives were opened to produce goods for the State such as cigarette trays, standing oil lamps, and fine-art boxes. During this period, Dong Xam silver products were mainly exported to Eastern Europe and Russia.
During the years of socio-economic reform, Dong Xam silvercraft quickly growned in two communes (Hong Thai and Le Loi) and Tra Nam village with over 2,500 labors. Dong Xam craftmen are very skillful, they can make very high artistic values and traditional culture products just by hand and simple tools.
Dong Xam silver products are mainly exported to the big markets namely Germany, France, Thailand, Taiwan, and Laos. Dong Xam is more and more prosperous thanks to the silvercrafts.
When the discussing Ninh Van Commune of Hoa Lu District, people from all over the country know their traditional handicraft. That is stone carving. It is an aesthetic and technical profession, making perfect fine-art products from rough stones by skilful craftsmen.
Stone products include statues, animals and birds, stele, ornament tanks, large pocerlain vases, flower-basins, tables, chairs, beds, incense-tables, thrones, bridgs, gates, door-steps and beams. There are aslo fine-arts products and aritcles made of stone like tea cups and pots, ashtrasy, dishs and photographs.
All these things are carved lively and skilfully with exquisite, lissom patterns. Hands and and brainpower of craftsmen seem to have miracles.
How to get thereTo get to Ninh Van village, take Highway 1 out from Hanoi for 120 km towards Ninh Binh. At Phu Yen Bridge, turn right, and then drive 10km to Ninh Van.
When winter comes, people can feel the extremely cold weather and chilly wind. Huddling up in a corner of a stand, enjoying a few sips of hot tea and crunchy peanut candies is a simple pleasure of many people.
Dan Phuong village to the west of Hanoi centre is the main supplier of peanut candies for Hanoi market. In addition, households in the village also make other products such as popcorn, peppery maize, and doughnuts.
Making peanut candies is easy because the ingredients are available and it requires few labourers. However, it is really difficult to make delicious, crisp, sweet and appealing peanut candies. Peanuts have to be roasted and smashed into small pieces; and then peanut shells must be removed. Malt should be heated, mixed with peanuts, poured on the tray, rolled into thin layer of about 1.5 centimetres, cut into small bars, dried and finally packaged.
The hardest process is roasting peanuts and heating malt. If it is overheated, peanuts will be burnt and the candies will have dark colour and won’t be tasty. In wet season, if overheated, malt will turn into dull red. In dry season, if undercook, peanut candies often have light white. It is very easy to spoil the batch of candies if people do not pay much attention to the process. In a household, only skilful and experienced person will take charge of heating malt and roasting peanuts. Other people are responsible for rolling, cutting and packaging.
Ninh Hai Commune in Hoa Lu District has been famous all over the country for its lace embroidery. It is said that this is the land of lace embroidery.
Legend has it that King Tran Thai Tong abdicated in favor of his son when he was 40 years old in 1258. He became the King’s father and went to Vu Lan Mount area to live a religious life (in Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District). He also set up a base to lead the second war of resistance against the armed force of Yuan-Mong Dynasty (the Chinese dynasty founded by the Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan) in 1285. Madam Tran Thi Dung was the Great Tutor Tran Thu ‘s wife, she came to teach Van Lam Hamlet people her skill of lace embroidery. Thus, this profession has been here for 700 years.
Currently, in Ninh Hai Commune every family has many kinds of embrodery frames, some frames are as big as a mat, some are as small as a hand. The skilful embroidery worker has made fine-art works from small threads and big and small colorful cloths. Embroidery patterns are exquisite and charming, they are also very lively and smooth as they are painted. Lace-embrodery productst are diverse ; such as bed-spreads, curtains, pillow-covers, tabler-covers, napkin, handkerchief, paintings and photos.
When it comes to Thang Long – Dong Do – Hanoi, a capital city with a thousand-year history, trade villages cannot be missed. Among villages like Ngoc Ha Flower Village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village and Yen Thai poonah paper village, Yen Phu Incense Village has existed for a long time.
Crossing Thanh Nien – Co Ngu slope, people can see a village located at Yen Phu city gate, on the West river side in Tay Ho District. This village specializes not only in breeding ornamental fish but also in making incense for many years.
According to some documentations and village elders, the incense trade was established by a Chinese man in the 13th century. Buddhism and the customs of burning incense expanded in this village as well as in others. At the turning point of this century, Yen Phu Incense Village developed vigorously and attracted a large number people from An Duong and Nghi Tam villages. At the beginning of the 1980s, the incense trade appeared to fall into oblivion when a lot of households gave up and started breeding ornamental fish or running their own business. At that time, only 20% of the households kept on maintaining this trade. After 7 to 8 years, however, the incense trade was restored in the 1990s. Despite working hard, villagers have low income. However, they still keep up this trade, which is traditional and suitable for them.
Making incense is a hard work which requires a lot of stages. Members in the family have to work with all their might. Each of them is assigned a duty, from simple to complicated one. Old people and children are responsible for simple tasks, such as whittling sticks, drying incense, collecting and packaging the finished products.
The most difficult and complicated stage is mixing incense sawdust with some other materials like anise, cinnamon and etc. only skilful and experienced people take charge of this task. If not properly mingled, the incense won’t be fragrant./.
Sedge appeared in Kim Son two centuries ago but it has played an important role in the district’s economy. The Kim Son people have used this material to make many products like mat, carpet, baskest, trays, boxs, dishs, cups, tumblers, bags and hats.
About sedge products, sedge-mat weaving should be mentioned first. Mat weaving is a creative, hard and careful manufacture; from the process of choosing, drying and dying sedge to have a scarlet and fast color; the jute must be small and strong for the process of weaving. The worker who weaves flower-patterns on the mat must be brisk, flexible, and sharp-eyed. He must have a skill of weaving to make patterns accurately without mistakes. The worker who “lao coi” (insert sedge) must be well-balanced with the weaving worker. There should be careful and smooth cooperation between “lao coi” worker and weaving worker.
Chang Son or Chang Thon formerly, in Thach That district, Hanoi, is a vil1age being famous with many traditional handicrafts .
The village has retained a saying that "Many tax-payers and few fie/d 1and but hundreds good craas " . Among them, the carpentry is the most famous one. It has been developed and given favorable preconditions to generate other branches such as construction carpentry (temple, pagoda and house construction), and furniture carpentry (bed, chair and cabinet making) in which the furniture carpentry is bearing high value of interior decoration with handicraft and fine art styies.
Legend tells a story that the progenitor of Chang Son carpentry lived in early formation of Dai Viet (Great Việt) nation when Buddhism was venerated so much Therefore, Chang Son carpentry major works were almost wooden Buddhism statues. With this career, Chang Son carpenters were practicing everywhere.
They could undertake an entire work, or cooperated with other carpentry groups in other villages or other professionals to undertake. This is a unique feature of Chang Son carpenters.
Over challenges of time, Chang Son workers still retain their traditional occupation and their products become more prestigious in the market.
No one knows the Chom village’s rice pancake in Thieu Chau commune of Thieu Hoa district has appeared ever since, it just know that this is one of the popular cakes throughout the countryside. However, if someone has ever enjoying the Chom village’s rice pancake, they will never forget the delicious taste of its.
It is not as busy as other traditional craft villages in Hong River delta region. The endurance and quietness have made Do Xuyen become a traditional craft village with unique products
Today, the occupation of chap bamboo production has further developed thanks to the investment by Hon Ngoc Vien Dong Ltd., Company. The products of Do Xuyen village of bamboo dishes, bowls, and chopsticks have been sold in foreign markets. Do Xuyen people have not only had chance to restore traditional occupation but also get richer.