Lotus – Vietnam’s national flower, a symbol of divine beauty

Nga Do
The Vietnamese has a famous folk poems meaning that “In the pond, nothing’s more beautiful than lotus, the flower of the dawn”. The elegance of the lotus is often cited in the Vietnamese folk songs and poems. 

To the Vietnamese, lotus is known as an exquisite flower, symbolizes the purity, serenity, commitment and optimism of the future as it is the flower which grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. At night, the flower closes and sinks under water. It rises and opens again at dawn. How it blossoms and recedes at certain times of the day makes the flower remain untouched by impurity. Thus, the lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind. And just like the lotus, Vietnam has a strong affinity with the water. From history to present, Vietnamese farmers working on the paddy fields while fishermen make livelihood from the rivers and streams. Vietnamese civilization sprung out of the Red River delta, where wet-rice cultivation along with fishing and rice planting was the mainstay of living.

One interesting research reported that the lotus has the remarkable ability to regulate the temperature of its flowers to within a narrow range just as humans and other warmblooded animals do. Such is the Vietnamese love for the lotus that it was voted as the country’s national flower - for which one of the criteria was that it “must be found in many localities”, and it would be hard to travel through Vietnam during lotus season without coming across a pond or lake filled with them.

Early in the morning, elderly ladies push off in their boats to cut the flowers ready for selling later that day. Later in the day, young lovers and groups of girls dressed up along to the ponds for both professional and amateur photo shoots. Enterprising land - or pond - owners have put up bridges jutting out into the ponds and charge for the privilege of taking photos on the bridge or out on small boats among the flowers.The white and pink flowers are most commonly seen in the ponds and streets of Hanoi, with pink being considered the supreme of all lotuses. A beautiful sight along Yen Phu St.

As well as being beautiful to look at, and having a wonderful fragrance, lotus flowers have other uses: the young stems are used in salads, the stamens can be dried and made into a herbal tea and the lotus seeds are eaten raw, dried or boiled. The sweet soup is particularly tasty. It is the lotus flower season in Hanoi now, how can I not miss the time when my buddy and I walked along the West Lake area awashing with the beautiful blooms, enjoying the lotus fragance and never forgot to buy home a bunch of white or pink flower wrapped in a lotus leaf to put on my piano. Life is beautiful as it should be!

Lotus flowers means a lot to me as they inspire me to continue striving through difficulties and to show my best part to the outside world, no matter how bad the circumstances may be. Just like the lotus flower, bringing beauty and light from the murky darkness at the bottom of the pond. When my mind is muddied with sorrow and my thoughts of hope swampted with doubt, I remember the lotus flower and how naturarlly triumphant it was.

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