Chinese Cultural Influence on Vietnam


There is no denying that China and Vietnam share a remarkable amount of cultural similarities. Thanks to centuries of shared, intertwined history, Chinese cultural influence on Vietnam remains highly visible and continually growing, even till the present era.

Below are some of the aspects where this influence can be felt most profoundly:

1. Language

Languages generally evolve by adapting. One of the ways this is done is through the “borrowing” of words from other languages. Generally, a good way to detect cultural influence is to establish the total number of words borrowed from another language.

Today, it is estimated that Vietnamese language is made up of about 70% loan words from various Chinese languages, some of which are so old and established that even natives are oblivious to their foreign origin.

Chinese cultural influence on Vietnam

2. Lunar New Year

The Tết, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is arguably the most important Vietnamese holiday. And yes, you guessed it: it is based upon the Chinese Lunar New Year and celebrated on the same day.

3. Architecture

While Vietnamese architecture, definitely one of the most beautiful I’ve come across, has built a solid, unique identity for itself over the years, its major influence can be traced back to ancient Chinese designs. And elements of this influence still lingers and is not too difficult to discern today.

Chinese cultural influence on Vietnam

4.  Clothing

Lots of popular Vietnamese clothing were inspired by Chinese designs, majorly the qi Zhuang and the Hanfu. From the modernized Áo Dài, modeled upon popular Ming and Qing dynasty clothing, down to the more traditional Áo tú thân, based on the Chinese Song Beizi attire, the list pretty much goes on.

5. Religion

It has been argued by scholars that quite a number of both Chinese and Vietnamese deities possess the same origin. At any rate, both nations share a disposition to place remarkable emphasis on worshiping powerful ancestors.

Confucianism is also a huge influence on Vietnamese culture, as is Taoism and Buddhism.

6. Food

Food is without a doubt one of the most defining aspects of any nation’s culture. Vietnam boasts of having some truly remarkable dishes, some of which are world-famous. An example of this is the Pho, which also has a little Chinese origin.

7. Literature

Various Chinese myths and legends, including even more recent traditional stories are highly popular influences of Vietnamese literature. Chinese poetry also has a solid footing in Vietnamese literary tradition, some of which are even required studies in Vietnamese schools.

Chinese cultural influence on Vietnam.

8. Others

Other aspects of profound cultural similarities between China and Vietnam include entertainment, social interactions, basic family values and quite a few more.

Guest Article by


Sam is a travel blogger, writer, & photographer who runs Ultimate Vietnam, where he shares his travel experiences, tips and recommendations to help and inspire other people to get out there and discover Vietnam.

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