During an interview with VNA reporters in Pretoria, Yvonne Aringer, a South African, shared her excitement about receiving a conical hat (Non La) at the event. She expressed her enjoyment of wearing the hat everywhere she went, such as the market, garden, or during short walks. Yvonne described the hat as beautiful and convenient.
Similar to Yvonne, many attendees of the Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa 2023, organized by the Vietnamese Embassy, were also given conical hats as gifts.
|South African friends enjoy taking photos with Non La of Vietnam. Photo: VNA
Stoffel van Zyl mentioned that when he and his wife visited the Hazel Food Market, they were impressed by the presence of Asians wearing the interesting Non La hats while presenting traditional Vietnamese food. This led them to discover the Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa, where they had the opportunity to appreciate Vietnamese cuisine and try various delicious dishes.
He expressed his happiness about not only enjoying famous Vietnamese food but also receiving a beautiful hat adorned with Vietnamese words and landscape drawings. Stoffel described the Vietnamese people as thoughtful. The experience of the Non La and Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa in 2023 inspired him and his family to plan a trip to Vietnam.
|A South African girl with a Vietnamese conical hat. Photo: VNA
Not only South Africans, but many members of the diplomatic corps also expressed their fascination with the conical hats. Numerous guests from Japan, Korea, and European countries enjoyed wearing hats depicting landscapes such as terraced fields and mountains. These guests took many photographs and showed an interest in purchasing more hats while in South Africa.
During a conversation with VNA reporters, Cuban Ambassador to South Africa Enrique Orta González shared his long-standing love for the Non La. He emphasized that the Non La is a symbol of Vietnam’s beauty, evoking images of vast rice fields, bamboo trees, village gates, and friendly Vietnamese individuals.
|The Ambassador stated that the Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa aims to share the essence of Vietnamese cuisine and culture with the local people and international friends. Photo: VNA
Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Sy Cuong also expressed surprise at the interest and love shown by South African and international friends for the conical hats.
Ambassador Cuong explained that the Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa aims to spread the essence of Vietnamese cuisine and culture to local people and international friends.
|Many guests participating in the Vietnamese Pho Day event in South Africa 2023, organized by the Vietnamese Embassy, received conical hats as gifts. Photo: VNA
Similar to other traditional Vietnamese costumes, the Non La has an origin story based on a legend related to Vietnam’s history of rice cultivation. The legend tells the story of a giant woman from the sky who protected humans from a rain deluge by wearing a hat made of four round-shaped leaves. After the Goddess disappeared, the Vietnamese built a temple as a tribute to her, honoring her as the Rain-shielding Goddess.
Vietnamese people attempted to recreate a hat resembling the one worn by the Goddess by stitching palm leaves together, and thus the Non La was born. The image of the Non La has become closely associated with peasant life, from working in the paddy fields to life on boats.