In the serene landscapes of Vietnam’s countryside, an iconic figure has stood the test of time, embodying the country’s agricultural heritage and cultural significance—the buffalo. A gentle giant and a symbol of resilience, the buffalo has played a pivotal role in shaping the rural way of life for generations.
In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the deep-rooted connection between the Vietnamese people and these creatures that have left an indelible mark on the country’s history, agriculture, and folklore.
The Ceremony of Thần Nông Worship in Vietnam (Credit: vnexpress.net)
For thousands of years, the Vietnamese people have cherished the image of buffaloes, integrating them into all aspects of our spiritual life. With a predominantly rice-based agricultural economy, buffaloes are considered as close companions by farmers.
For the Vietnamese, the buffalo symbolizes a gentle and hardworking nature, representing the strength and vitality of farming traditions. Our ancestors used to say: ‘The buffalo is the foundation of our livelihood’ to emphasize the important position and role of buffaloes in agricultural life.
In the Ly – Tran dynasty (11th to 14th century), as spring arrived, the king would adhere to tradition by personally participating in a ceremony to worship Thần Nông (the God of Agriculture) and cultivate the fields. A specific field was set aside for this sacred ritual. Only male buffaloes, raised with special attention, were chosen for the plowing task. On the ceremonial day, the king would go down to the field, plow the land with the buffalo, and offer prayers for a prosperous and abundant harvest in the upcoming year.
An iconic representation amidst Vietnam’s countryside.
In Vietnam, people love to see buffaloes peacefully eating grass in the green fields. Buffaloes are an important part of the country’s farming history and are loved by people in rural areas. You can often see these calming scenes from morning till evening, where the buffaloes graze along with the rustling sound of the rice fields.
If you visit the beautiful Vietnamese countryside, you’ll be amazed by the charm of this scene, where people, nature, and buffaloes live together in harmony.
As you journey through the countryside of Vietnam, you’ll often encounter the sight of buffaloes working alongside farmers, plowing the fields.
These unique scenes blend harmoniously into the colorful tapestry of rural life, forming an integral part of Vietnamese culture and daily life. The coexistence between humans and buffaloes carries a message of love, respect for nature, and deep admiration for the unwavering hard work of the farmers.
The image of children riding buffaloes and playing the flute is a heartwarming and iconic sight that one often comes across in the serene landscapes of the Vietnamese countryside. These endearing scenes embody the essence of rural life, where the simple joys of childhood and the harmonious coexistence with nature blend seamlessly.
Caring for buffaloes
In Vietnam, water buffaloes are cherished by farmers as both valuable assets and beloved companions. As a result, buffaloes receive meticulous care and attention.
Buffaloes are typically raised in open fields or spacious areas where they have access to fresh water and plenty of grazing opportunities. Farmers ensure that the buffaloes receive a balanced diet, which often includes grass, rice straw, and other nutritious fodder.
In some areas, there are specific buffalo baths or mud ponds where buffaloes can cool off and get relief from heat and insects. These mud baths also help in maintaining the health of their skin and coat.