I did not know much about it until getting old enough and remembered the story that had told by my grandfather when I was small. I and my sisters used to be sent back to my hometown when we had left school for summer breaks. It was time for my grandfather meet nephews and makes them happy with countryside games and foods. Most of countryside women are wearing conical hats; it’s cool and also protects people from sun. My grandfather had one too. Her hat used as a wheat candy basket that I often firstly checked and fought with my uncle’s children when she came back from market. She told me when a girl is shy; she uses the hat to cover her face, the act of charming girl! Or the hat could be a handy fan on the heat working day in the rice field. And when people are waving someone or getting attention, they wave their conical hats.
The conical hats in my hometown is not the same as the other parts of Vietnam, it’s not romantic like the hats in Hue which the boy make one with a poem between layers that visible to girls when they held up to the sun. It’s also not as hard as the one in Mekong delta which made of from the coconut’s leaf. My grandfather told me the best hats must be made from the palm leaf that made it lighter and last longer. The shape is covered by many round bamboo rings from top to bottom that represents for Vietnamese union, the round of perfection, round of earth and sky!
My grandfather had passed away, but the image of her walking with conical hat back from the market will stay with me forever. The candy I fought for is the sweetest one I have ever had. Time flies, those values sometimes are forgotten by us, a young generations, fashion trends are changing, people maybe don’t wear the conical hats anymore in the future but the memories are still so fresh to me, to anyone who had been one time followed our grandfathers to the market.
Some scenes of conical hats in Vietnam