Betel nut is not just a dining option but hiding behind itself a long-founded tradition while its making process is an art of an old nation like Vietnam. Apart from the widely known health-related functions recorded, this type of common flora species represents for such special occasions in the life of a Vietnamese, wedding day. Today’s article is walking you to the historical biography of betel leaf chewing culture and its modern form of usage in the XXI century. Check this out if the presence of betel nut is involved in your Vietnam culture tours.
The history of chewing and using betel leaf
Several archeological types of research have been conducted by far and they give out an evidence of the first betel-chewing remnants. These were discovered in a cave in The Philippines, which date back roughly to the year 3000 BC. This can be understood that the use of betel nut is not solely a Vietnamese culture but broadly practiced in other several lands of the area. In Vietnam, betel was first used around the time of Kings Hùng, the very first dynasty existed in the history of the country, dating back to over 3000 years ago.
The making process
What are inside a set of betel and areca?
The set is usually displayed in the living room as a gift offered to newly coming guests to the house. It contains a small peeled areca nut wrapped inside a betel leaf covered with a colored excess lime. By getting started to put it in the mouth, our Việt oldies begin to add a little decoction of Artocarpus Tonkinensis to provide proper bitterness. Some other people choose to apply tobacco as a replacement.
Betel and Areca
Even though collecting and chewing betel quid seems to be pretty simple by itself. Nevertheless, the art of consuming betel leaf and areca nut requires such an artwork to be made. In some culture tours in Vietnam, you get to be introduced to a form of artistic-look set of betel quid named as phoenix-winged betel leaf and holds in itself a special reflection of Vietnamese custom. During the ancient regimes, making a proper set of betel quid tends to reflect one’s social status, education as well as a sense of the philosophy of beauty. A girl during her youth would be raised and instructed towards the method of folding a proper piece of betel leaf, splitting areca nuts and keeping her own betel tray in a fresh appearance.
The usage of betel nut and areca in modern Vietnamese rituals
As time goes by, the use of betel and areca has played such an essential part in the citizens’ big occasions, and the wedding ceremony is definitely one of them. During the first stages of a wedding day, the handover of a betel set represents a long-lasting relationship and promise between the couples as well as the two related families. There are three main ceremonies of wedding progress on a whole, which include the “Proposal Feast” (Lễ Dạm Ngõ), “Definitive Conclusion Feast” (Lễ Ăn Hỏi) and finally, “Feast for the Bride Entering Her Husband’s Family” (Lễ Thành Hôn) to “The ceremony of bringing the bride home” (Lễ rước dâu).
In the modern days of the XXI century, even though the basic form of a traditional wedding seems to greatly change compared to its initial look. However, the basic processes still remain similarly. For instance, a pipe, cigarettes or a bowl of green tea and a set of the betel quid are always offered as must-have gifts before an actual marriage and engagement take place. In addition to an image of the long-lasting connection, eating betel leaf and areca nuts is believed to strengthen one’s teeth. Hence, betel had become an essential item in the Việt’s daily life. If you are a part of the best tours in Vietnam to far-off villages in the delta, you would totally spot out an old lady consuming her piece of betel squid by the reddish-look on her set of teeth.
Vietnam is one of a very few countries around the Gulf of Tonkin greatly apply the use of betel in both physical and mental ways. If you have not witnessed such a valuable practice before, do not hesitate to sign up for Vietnam culture tours for a real observation.