Besides ao dai, the image of the palm-leaf conical hat is also considered a symbol of Vietnam, bringing the soul and culture of people here.
Traveling along Vietnam, tourists are likely to catch sight of local ladies donning a conical leaf hat and walking gracefully along the streets or sailing along wide rivers. In a harmonious combination with ao dai – a Vietnamese women’s traditional dress, the conical hat creates a charming and romantic beauty, leaving deep impressions on any tourists visiting this S-shaped country.
A symbol of the country
The palm-leaf conical hat is a typical item used to protect Vietnamese people against the rain or sunlight. For a long time, the conical hat has been attached to the image of the Vietnamese people although it is not in the national symbols as pho Vietnam or ao dai. As a result, when seeing the hat, people immediately think of the image of Vietnam.
In Vietnam, almost all the regions have the conical hat villages. The hats are made for the purpose of covering the head, but each region has its own characteristics in production. However, it can be said that Hue is Vietnam’s best places of producing conical hats.
Being useful and convenient, the conical hat is very popular in the life of Hue people in particular and Vietnamese people in general. This kind of hat is extremely convenient, suitable for the tropical climate, and cheap also. Hence, it has been widely used in Vietnamese daily life, especially in rural areas to protect themselves from the sunshine and rain. Anyone can wear the Hue conical hat, from the elderly to children.
How to make a Vietnam conical hat
The conical hat Vietnam is creatively made of simple and available materials, such as dry palm leaves and the bark of Moc trees and bamboos, but they are selected through a variety of steps including steaming, drying, frosting, and flattening. Therefore, the leaves can keep the color of white green.
After being carefully selected, young green palm leaves are displayed under the sun until they get dry but still soft enough to be flattened. Afterward, the leaves are sewn on a conical frame consisting of 16 round bamboo rims. The hat frame is made of light-weight wood, having curved roofs of various sizes. Usually, a conical hat Vietnam frame can be used for a dozen years if there is no change in design to meet the market demand.
Finally, the hat is trimmed and painted with a coat of attar to keep it clean, smooth, and water-proof. Thanks to the hand of skillful artisans, those natural materials are smoothly tapered from the base to the apex to produce the beautiful conical hat Vietnam.
For visitors who want to explore and see how the conical hat is made, let’s travel about 30 kilometers southwest of Hanoi to Chuong traditional village which is well-known for its hand-made palm-leaf conical hats for centuries. Vietnam’s special conical hats are usually adorned with colorful manually stitched patterns of traditional countryside landscapes such as the rice fields or bamboo hedges.
Poem conical hats
The ancient capital of Hue, the birthplace of many famous and talented poets, is famous for its poem conical hats which are decorated with poetic verses, romantic characters, and beautiful images of Hue. Those unique and sophisticated decorations become readable when being exposed under the sunlight.
The poem conical hats were born in Tay Ho village as a coincidence. Around 1959-1960, Bui Quang Bac, a conical artisan and also a poetic lover in the village, had an idea of making poem conical hats by inserting the poems between the two leaves to honor the beauty of the hat. These famous poems were written about Hue. They are cut with shiny papers in all colors which are outstanding on the white green background of the palm-leaf conical hats. Furthermore, there are the hidden symbols in the poem conical hats which are often the images of Truong Tien bridge, Ngu Binh mountain, Ngo Mon gate, Phu Van Lau, and Thanh Toan tile bridge, etc.
The poem conical hat is not just a hat but a true Vietnamese artwork. In order to have a high-quality hat, the artisans have to go through many meticulous steps, requiring the diligence and skill from picking the frame, covering with the leaves, cutting patterns to polishing the hat to preserve. Perhaps because of its sophistication and popularity, Hue conical hat is favored by many visitors, becoming one of the symbols in the region.
In general, Vietnamese clothing is very diverse from region to region. Some of the traditional clothes are now not very popular, but they will never be forgotten because of its frequent presence in special occasions like Tet holiday, traditional festivals, and national cultural shows.
Along Vietnam, the conical hats radiate all the streets and become familiar, closer to the daily life of every woman. With simple materials of leaves and wood, the palm-leaf conical hats are still the “jewelry” of many girls. If you like the place, feel free to contact us for more information and don’t forget to like and share with others. Thank you.