When travelling throughout Vietnam, tourists never fail to take notice of the local charming ladies donned in Áo Dài (Vietnamese traditional long dress) and Non La (conical leaf hat, Vietnamese: Nón Lá) walking gracefully along the streets. By no doubt, the Ao dai embody the femininity and charm of the Vietnamese women, while the appeal and functionality of the Nón Lá creates a beautiful harmony of the entire ensemble, leaving a strong impression of gracefulness and romance to any tourist who visits the country. In recognition of the hat’s distinct shape, Nón Lá earned its common name, “Vietnamese conical hat”. Vietnam is a tropical country characterized both with rainy and dry seasons. Clearly, Nón Lá is essential for the people to protect themselves from heat which could last for months, and sometimes even reaching 40 degrees Celsius in intensity, and also during long periods of enduring rain. Though the Nón Lá has appeared even from the earlier days of the country’s history, no one can precisely trace back as to when the conical head piece exactly originated. Images of the Nón Lá, however, are evident on the Trong dong Ngoc Lu (Ngoc Lu bronze drum) and Thap Dong Dao Thinh (large bronze cylindrical jar of Dao Thinh) known to date back some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago indicating that the hat had already been utilized during the period, or even earlier. Nón Lá had in fact existed as a daily essential of the Vietnamese from thousands of years ago and even in legends and fictions handed down throughout the generations. Nón Lá has made its way to cultural presentations in the recent years. The most notable dance was performed by Vietnamese young ladies donned in white Ao dai and Nón Lá. The performance is considered a remarkable recognition of the country’s performing arts culture. The gentle and flexible movements of the dancers along with the harmonious rhythm provide audiences a soothing and calm repose. In entirety, the dance is an indispensable performance in any art program and is a wonderful representation and symbolism of the Vietnamese culture, national clothing and traditional symbol. Today, a variation of Nón Lá worn with Ao dai distinguishes Vietnam from the rest in international fashion competitions as well as in cultural festivities.
Tags : Non La