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The Graceful Traditional Flat-palm Hat of Âu Lạc (Vietnam) (In Aulacese)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Festival is over, we bid farewell by the river Lovely flat-palm hats, lively Quan họ singing

Come back at promised date, forget it not, O friend! On bobbing boats, I call out from longing: O beloved!

O friend, moon’s full now at my village festival The moon lands on boat’s front, glistening on water. Moonlight adrift, festival is over.

As I sit by the boatside, tears drench my dress’s panel.

O beloved, we sing to express our affection, then we return home.

I give you my pink blouse as a token of trust I give you my flat-palm hat despite the rain, O dear!

This love song I sing: Please don’t go, O beloved!

By the graceful bamboo, I’ll wait for you the next festival.

You’re prettier standing by the communal house.

Festival is over, we bid farewell by the river Lovely flat-palm hats, lively Quan họ singing

Come back at promised date, forget it not, O friend! On bobbing boats, I call out from longing: O beloved!

O friend, moon’s full now at my village festival The moon lands on boat’s front, glistening on water. Moonlight adrift, festival is over.

As I sit by the boatside, tears drench my dress’s panel.

O beloved, we sing to express our affection, then we return home.

I give you my pink blouse as a token of trust I give you my flat-palm hat despite the rain, O dear!

This love song I sing: Please don’t go, O beloved!

By the graceful bamboo, I’ll wait for you the next festival.

You’re prettier standing by the communal house.

You’ve just enjoyed the folk song “Remembering the Night We Bid Farewell,” written by composer Nguyễn Tiến, with vocals and dance accompaniment by our Association from northern Âu Lạc (Vietnam). According to tradition, at the beginning of the year when Quan họ gathering is held under the glistening moon, Quan họ people would exchange their singing, strengthening the neighborly tie of affection.

“Who makes the traditional flat-palm hat So that I find all young women pretty...” The image of a graceful young woman in a bright-colored four-panel dress, holding a traditional flat-palm hat in her hand or wearing it on her head as an ornament, enhances the beauty of the fairer gender. In today’s program, we’re pleased to introduce the flat-palm hat, a charming symbol in women’s traditional costumes in northern Âu Lạc (Vietnam).

Greetings, Mom!

You’re back!

Please have tea, Mom! Thanks, dear. Tea, honey! Thanks, sweetheart. You’ve been married for a month, but it feels as if it were yesterday.

Ah! So beautiful!

You’ve never shown me this hat.

I wait for you to get married and give it to my daughter-in-law.

This flat-palm hat, please keep it for me.

Yes.

The flat-palm hat is rather large in size. The hat’s diameter is about 70-80 centimeters, shading the wearer’s entire face, creating a wide airy space. The hat’s surface is made of fan-palm leaves or palm leaves. The hat’s rim is about 10-12 centimeters in height. In the middle of the hat is attached a casket lid-like ring, about 8 centimeters in height, called “hoop”. The hat “hoop” is made of polished small bamboo blades which are sewn together by colorful threads.

This is called the hoop. This hoop is needed to hold the wearer’s head in place. Now there is even a mirror which is my creation. When people wear it, they won’t need to borrow a mirror. Just turn the hat upside-down and they can see their faces, even their clothes, in this mirror.

This is not just keeping a heirloom, but also preserving a cultural value of our people. Also, it helps the later generations to remember the one who painstakingly revived this beautiful tradition.

Do you mean Dad?

Mom, please tell me about Dad!

When your father was 9 years old, your grandmother let him see samples of the traditional flat-palm hats. What a beautiful hat it was! At that time, like Grandma, your father was heart- broken upon witnessing the gradual decline of a national beauty. He felt a strong urge to restore the quintessence of his village’s profession, despite any hardship.

You won’t regret discontinuing your studying?

Respected Mom, if I don’t become a mandarin, someone else will, but if I don’t do this, who will? Besides, reviving the village’s trade has been Father’s wish and yours.

All right. I pray that your wish be fulfilled soon.

Since then, he set out on his journey to revive the traditional hat of his homeland. He traveled from one province to another. He’d go wherever he heard there existed this traditional hat. Once, he tripped over a stone, causing acute pain in his leg, but his iron will urged him to continue on his search. One day, when passing by a pagoda, he could not go any further because his aching leg was unbearable and he was running out of traveling funds.

Are you okay?

I’m okay. It’s just my leg is swelling up, so I couldn’t walk.

Why don’t you go to a doctor for treatment?

I ran out of funds while traveling...

How about you take this little money for your treatment?

But that’s the money to make offering to the temple!

It’s a great merit to save a person, dear!

Thank you, but I feel very uneasy.

Just consider it my loan to you. Later when you have money, you may repay me.

Unexpectedly, the temple where he met that girl still kept for display a traditional hat. When the temple’s abbot knew of his wish, the abbot offered him the hat. Going home, he unraveled the hat to learn how it was made, how many rings and layers of leaves it had.

The making of a traditional flat-palm hat is not simple at all. It demands high meticulousness, perseverance, and aestheticism. A flat-palm hat is often sewn with 4 bunches of leaves. Used for making hats, tender palm leaves go through many steps, like being air-dried, ironing, and pressing. The inner side of the hat is lined with a red or yellow cloth, which is spread flat. The hat fringe is knitted using colorful threads.

After being woven, fringes are plaited into buttons with attractive patterns that also make the fringe firmer. Each end of the fringe has two peg-tops which are thumb-sized and meticulously knitted, hanging down as a 25-centimeter tassel. These tassels can be of equal or unequal lengths. Hat fringes are often plaited 2 or 3 meters in length.

To have very white fringes, people bleach silken fabric in a straw ash solution, then again with steamed glutinous rice and soak it overnight. To dye it yellow, add pigment to create a shining yellow. And to dye it black, we must use alkaline water so that it won’t fade or discolor.

The last step is to attach the fringe to the hat so that when worn with the four-panel dress, the flat-palm hat with tassels dangling down the shoulders make the women look even prettier and more graceful. Finally, he resurrected the flat-palm hats which were thought a lost tradition. The flat-palm hats were revived and the village trade thrived again since then. His wish had been fulfilled, yet he was still troubled by an inconsolable concern.

I’m so thoughtless! I borrowed her money but didn’t ask for her address. How will I return the money?

O master!

How is it?

I went to that temple to obtain information and found out whose family she’s from and where she lives.

O elder sister, someone wants to see you!

Sir...

I came to return the money I borrowed from you. And this here is a flat-palm hat that I made myself. I would like to gift it to you.

Such a lovely hat!

When donning the flat-palm hat, women use their hands to keep the hat fringe from swinging and to conveniently adjust the hat, either for wearing it straight or for keeping it aslant for shade.

The hat Dad gave that lady was probably very beautiful! I wonder if she still has it?

She still does, and now she passes it on to you.

It was you, Mom?

After we got married, Dad continued to make hats as presents for me.

I’ve just finished a new hat for you to go to the temple tomorrow.

Thank you, love. So beautiful! But the old hat... you put a lot of heart and soul into it. I still like it.

Which hat have I made for you that doesn’t have a lot of heart and soul into it? But if you still like that one, I’ll please you.

Usually, young women prefer to use ivory-white hat fringes and married women choose the black hat fringes.

Sister Tuấn, let’s go before it’s late!

In the past, elder women wore this hat in festivities. They donned a flat-palm hat, leaned against a bamboo cane, and wore a beaded string with the belief that they could pray to God and Buddha to bless humankind with peace.

Although he succeeded in reviving the traditional hat, he was still concerned that after he died, the flat-palm hat would again become a lost tradition. Therefore, he opened a class to teach the local people free of charge. Be it men or women, young or old, as long as they liked this profession and wished to preserve and develop this traditional beauty, he would teach them.

Dad is so kind-hearted! I’m very proud to have such a father who loved his country and devoted to preserve a traditional beauty of our people.

I wish Dad were still alive, so that I can see him.

He is alive. He lives forever in our hearts and in the adoration of the people whom he wholeheartedly imparted the making of this hat. Every time the women look graceful in their flat-palm hats, Dad is smiling in contentment, my children.

The story about the reviving of the flat-palm hat that we have just enjoyed is based on a true story about artisan Phạm Trần Canh who has painstakingly restored an elegant tradition of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) people.

From artisans’ skillful hands, the simple flat-palm hats came into life, helping to enhance the charm and tenderness of women. Along with the four-panel dress, flat-palm hats nowadays not only represent a cultural beauty but also the inner beauty of the people living in the gentle land of Âu Lạc.

Thank you for your company on today’s program. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. May all beings enjoy eternal happiness. Up next is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, right after Noteworthy News. Take care for now.

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