There is no flower that is quite as exquisite and unique as the lotus. At night, the Lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera) closes and sinks underwater. 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. In this article we want to explore the meaning of the Lotus flower in Vietnam.
The Lotus is a special flower as it grows and lives in mud but it still passes out of the water to catch the sun without being polluted by the surrounding mud. Therefore, it is the most representative symbol for culture and humanistic manners of the Vietnamese, represents strength and the rise of a strong will to live as ethnic Vietnamese.
The lotus flower regulates its temperature; even as outside conditions go through wild fluctuations, the lotus flower maintains a fairly steady internal temperature. It’s believed that this also change occurs at the biochemical level, rather than structurally. As the temperature drops, the flower oxidizes carbohydrates to produce heat.
The lotus flower symbolizes Buddhist detachment; the way that water slides off lotus petals represents the detachment aspect of their faith, which tells them to let go of lusts, cravings and desires. This is one of the reasons why many statues and images show Buddha sitting on a lotus.
A well-known image in Buddhist and Vietnamese culture, and the native flower for both Vietnam and India, the lotus flower carries with it tremendous symbolic weight. Although its legend spans across many Eastern cultures that have been around for thousands of years, it is still regarded as one of the most sacred flowers in existence today. Yet what exactly is it about this fascinating bloom that people find so enthralling?
Meaning of the Lotus Flower In Vietnam
While the lotus flower is greatly esteemed in Southeast Asia, for the Vietnamese people there is no other plant that can equal the lotus. The lotus flower in Vietnam is a symbol of purity, peace, and optimism regarding the future.
The Vietnamese have long loved the lotus flower and considered it an integeral part of their culture. This flower is invoked in hundreds of poems and folk songs and is a cherished sight.
Regardless of the fact that the flower has roots there and grows and develops in the mud underneath pond water, it still is able to create a floral aroma and gorgeous color. Because of this, the flower has come to symbolize the divine beauty that can emerge from impurity and those dark, scary places in our souls that none of us like to visit, plus the growth and success of the Vietnamese people that has occured over the last 5,000 years.
Why is the National Flower of Vietnam the Lotus
There is no other flower that is quite like the lotus. Magnificently unique, this breathtakingly elegant flower symbolizes purity of heart and mind, serenity, and hope for the future. At night, the flower will close and sink beneath the water. When the dawn comes, however, the lotus flower rises again and opens up it’s beautiful bloom. Because it blossoms and then recedes the way it does, this means that the flower remains untouched by impurity. So the lotus has come to symbolize purity.
Moreover, just as the lotus has a strong connection to water, so too does Vietnam. From long ago in Vietnam’s history to the present time, Vietnamese farmers have been working in the rice paddy fields while fishermen earn their living from the rivers. It is also known that Vietnamese civilization came forth from the Red River delta, and the Mekong delta where the cultivation of wet-rice, rice planting, and fishing were the main ways of surviving.
Furthermore, when the Vietnamese voted to make the lotus flower the country’s national flower, one part of the criteria was that it “must be found in many areas”, that is certainly true about this amazing flower. During lotus season, one cannot go anywhere in the country without spying a lake or pond bursting with lotus flowers.
Why is the Lotus Sacred Among the Vietnamese Flowers?
In Vietnam the lotus is held sacred because its flowers have become a symbol of resurrection and immortality. People noticed that the flower of the lotus would grow from the bottom of pools that had dried up after the monsoon rains hit.
Though it grows in mud, the lotus is not polluted, but can change the environment around it; no matter where it grows, it can turn murky water clear. While lotus flowers have both scent and loveliness, the fragrance is not overly strong, so it displays a noble spirit. Also, lotus flowers have a hidden beauty with their delicate pink petals and yellow pistil. It is considered holy, and not to be disturbed by any butterfly or bee from the time of its blooming, until falling time.
So it is that the lotus flower in Vietnam is a symbol of the purity of both mind and heart. It is believed that in the same way, the Vietnamese people should make every effort to grow and rise up proud and strong, even when they are engulfed by impurity or ill will. In this manner, they should strive to make their surroundings, not just their physical selves, but the mental, spiritual, and emotional sides as beautiful as possible.
The Beauty of the Lotus
The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, has an amazing display of lakes and ponds where lotuses flourish. The delicate pinks and whites of the lotus flower are vividly highlighted by the dark green of the plant which surrounds it.
While there is no doubt that the lotus flower is of unrivaled beauty, in Buddhism, which is the main religion in Vietnam, the different colors represent various meanings:
White: A pure white flower indicates the purity of the spirit and mind that all people should seek to obtain.
Pink: Flowers that are pink call to mind the history of the Buddha and the religion which he founded.
Blue: When the lotus flower has shades of blue it indicates wisdom and logic with a healthy dose of common sense thrown in to achieve enlightenment.
Purple: Shades of purple indicate mysticism and spirituality. This leads to enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of the practice of spirituality. Searching the soul and striving always to understand and attain total enlightenment.
Gold: The color gold indicates the achievement of complete enlightenment, which is what took place inside of the Buddha himself. It is what all humans should aspire to, but are not likely to reach in our lifetimes.
There are various uses for the flowers of the lotus. They are offered in worship of deities, while the leaves are used for the wrapping of green rice, and the seeds are used to make tea. The Vietnamese people love the lotus so much that they have incorporated it into their cuisine. All parts of the lotus flower are used in common dishes like lotus stem salad, lotus seed jam, and lotus tea.
The Vietnamese people are as one with the lotus flower. They believe it is a way of life. It is in their hearts, their souls, their minds, and their very existence. For them it is much more than a national symbol, but a symbol of unity and the collective wisdom and purity, the ultimate enlightment that every human being should seek and not stop trying to understand and reach for the rest of their lives. And the resurrection of the spirit that the lotus flower embodies so completely.
Here’s one more Sacred Lotus Vietnamese Flowers from the same series
Lotus Flower Vietnam: 11 true Facts
- The colors have different meanings
- The lotus flower regulates its temperature
- There is lotus tea
- It sleeps underwater
- The lotus symbolizes Buddhist detachment
- The flower wilts after two months
- Beauty from the muck
- When it blooms depends on the region
- The Bitexco Tower was designed to look like a lotus
- Lotus seeds will still grow after a thousand years
- The lotus is part of Vietnamese cuisine