images by Jaume Ollé, 18 August 2006
Source: Traditional Festival of Vietnam
I'm doing some catching up on editions of "The World" on BBC4 tv which I had recorded. On 4 May 2005, there was a report about Vietnam's economic progress.
The first image shows some flags in a public park. They were simply part of the background "colour" to the reporter's voice-over, so there was no indication of what they might be.
These flags appeared during a comment that the "old guard" still held on to communist symbolism (it was preceded by a shot of a statue of Lenin), though to me this looks more like a shop catering for the tourist trade. There is another of the banners with concentric squares, and a generic hammer and sickle flag (strictly speaking these could be said not to be flags, since they are hung from horizontal poles, but they are clearly flag-like, and the Vietnamese national flag is one of them).
Inside the shop, there are smaller versions of (from left to right) the Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese flags, followed by a Red-Blue-Red triband with a white device which I don't recognise. Nor do I have any idea what the purple and orange flags on bamboo poles on each side of the shop entrance might be. André Coutanche, 18 June 2005
Those flags are called "Co Ngu Hanh" (Cờ Ngũ Hành), which mean "Five Elements Flag." The colors of the flag symbolize the Five Elements, the basis of the universe according to ancient Chinese philosophy. Since Vietnamese taste doesn't like the black color (representing Water), the black is usually replaced by the dark blue.
When I visited Vietnam in 2003, I bought a book titled Traditional Festival of Vietnam which shows lots of similar flags used in their festivals together with Vietnamese Buddhist flag. The book was published in November 2001 by TRAM MY, 240 pages. Nozomi Kariyasu, 17 August 2006