International Travelers Requesting Calligraphy Art at Temple of Literature

Foreign visitors love to partake in the tradition of asking for the first word of spring at the start of the year in Hanoi's Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam.

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During the first few days of the new year, not only Vietnamese people, but also many foreign tourists visit Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, also known as the Temple of Literature – the first university in Vietnam, to request calligraphic letters and pray for a prosperous new year.

As a local tradition, people in Vietnam have calligraphic works written on red paper to display during the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, the country’s most significant traditional event, in the hopes of attracting good fortune. The calligraphers write words symbolizing prosperity, longevity, and happiness.


Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam

often organizes the Spring Calligraphy Festival, which includes exhibitions of exceptional calligraphic works, culinary delights, traditional games, traditional music performances, water puppet shows, and activities showcasing handicrafts.

Many international tourists visit the Temple of Literature during Tet and enjoy requesting calligraphic letters at the beginning of the year. Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
Austrian tourists learning about the different characters and the significance behind the custom of requesting calligraphic letters at the beginning of the year. Photo: To Quoc Newspaper
From the elderly… Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
…to young people… Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
…even children request letters at the beginning of the year. Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
The calligraphy is created by calligraphers or calligraphy masters dressed in ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese dress, on Do or Diep paper. Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam

Cindea GiGi from Romania felt extremely excited and delighted as he celebrated Tet for the first time and requested his first word of the new year at Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, the Temple of Literature.

He shared his admiration for the Vietnamese tradition of requesting and giving words. Through this experience, he has gained a deeper understanding of profound and meaningful aspirations. He requested the letter “An” in the hopes of bringing peace to everyone in the new year and desires to see Vietnam continue to develop and promote good cultural values for future generations.

GiGi and Thomas from Romania with their calligraphic works. Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
The joy of foreign tourists after receiving their first calligraphic letter of the year. Photo: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
Hannah Nguyen