June 24, 2013

0696 VIETNAM (Mekong Delta) - Women harvesting rice

Vietnam's culture has developed over the centuries from indigenous ancient Đông Sơn culture (flourished in the Ma River and Red River floodplains on about 1000 BC) with wet rice agriculture as its economic base. Today, it is one of world's richest agricultural regions and is the second-largest exporter worldwide (after Thailand) and the world's seventh-largest consumer of rice, which is a staple of the national diet and is called "white gold". The heart of the rice producing region of the country is Mekong Delta, which lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City, roughly forming a triangle from Mỹ Tho in the east to Châu Đốc and Hà Tiên in the northwest, down to Cà Mau and the South China Sea.

According to a legend, in ancient times, rice was not produced, but was summoned by fervent prayers by people. Rice would appear from the heaven in the form of a large ball in every house. In one day, a woman has thought to sweep the floor of her house to welcome the rice ball. The rice ball landed in the house when the woman still sweep, hit the broom and has been broken into many pieces. Since then people of Vietnam had to work hard with their hands to grow rice. In fact, the women are the ones who mainly harvesting rice.

The women from the postcard wear traditional clothes, respectively áo bà ba, the rural working "pyjamas", and the standard conical nón lá, kept on the head by a cloth chin strap (an internal band of the same material keeps the hat itself from resting on the wearer's head). This style of hat is used primarily as protection from the sun and rain, but when made of straw or matting, it can be dipped in water and worn as an impromptu evaporative-cooling device.

About the stamps
The first samp is part of a series dedicated to the Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), a rare animal listed as a species vulnerable to extinction in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list. The fourth stamps, issued on August 1st 2010, have the face values of 2000 VND, 2500 VND, 4500 VND - on this postcard, and  10500 VND.

The last stamp is part of a series of two, depicting Fairy Lily, a little member of the amaryllis family, useful as a border plant in front of the shrubberies or to decorate windows in shallow pots or bowls. The stamps, issued on Julie 30, 2010, are:
Pink Fairy Lily (Zephyranthes carinata Herb) (3500 VND) - it's on this postcard
• Yellow Fairy Lily (Zephyranthes ajax Hort) (10500 VND)

Fishing Cat (stamps) - Philately News
Fairy Lily of Vietnam (stamps) - Flora Fauna on Stamp

sender: Phan Quoc Vuong (direct swap)
sent from Thanh Hóa (Thanh Hóa / Vietnam), on 01.04.2013
photo: Hans Kemp

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