Like any city or country there are many ancient traditions that are still remembered and embraced today. Vietnam is a country full of tradition, from visiting and honouring temples to eating and enjoying traditional food, the locals take their traditions to their hearts.
In a city like Hanoi there are many traditions you can still take part in and they are often a wonderful way of immersing yourself into local culture.
Water puppetry is a Vietnamese tradition dating back to the 11th century. Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique and fantastic way to learn about the history of the country.
In a time when there was peace within the country, festivals and traditions became an important way of life. People had more time to spend on crafts, artists began to flourish and puppetry started to come alive. The water puppet shows started their early life on rice paddies, villages would put on grand theatres for ceremonies and the whole village would be involved.
Master puppeteers can train for years to learn the traditional skill. The puppets come alive in front of you whilst the puppeteers are carefully hidden behind a screen. It takes great skill to seamlessly move the puppets in time to the music and it is believed the art of the puppetry is handed down through generations.
The shows have not changed much since their humble beginning over 1000 years ago, many depict stories of folklore or will tell a story of the harvesting of the countries staple food - rice.
The puppets are made out of wood and painted in bright and beautiful colours, often dressed in expensive clothing.
The shows themselves are grand spectaculars, with the use of lighting, smoke, music all coming alive and interpreted on water. Music will often be loud and lively and you can expect to hear bells, bamboo flutes, horns and the infamous Vietnamese guitar.
The theatrical display will always be in Vietnamese and even though you may not be able to understand the dialogue the story and music will leave you enthralled and mesmerised.
The water puppetry shows in Hanoi are grand and are very popular with tourists looking for a truly traditional way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Hoan Kiem Lake is home to one of the most ancient theatres in Hanoi. The Lotus Water puppet theatre. It is well known for its grand displays, beautiful puppets and enthralling stories.
The theatre runs for 365 days a year with four shows a day. Sitting close to the stage will ensure you get to see the intricate detail and smaller puppets too.
You will not fail to be impressed with a traditional water puppet show in Hanoi, you can even buy a souvenir water puppet to take home too.
A tour operator can help you with booking tickets and ensure you take your place in Vietnamese history.