New Discourse of the Shennong Symbol in Vietnam
Keywords:symbols, new discourse, shennong, national cohesion, Vietnam
Objective: Researching the contemporary discourse surrounding the iconic figure of Shennong (a long-standing symbol in Vietnamese culture) aims to shed light on how this age-old symbol is being redefined in the present era. This research endeavors to provide insights for scholars and decision-makers, enabling them to generate fresh narratives for old symbols, and infuse new life into traditional icons to better serve the demands of modern life.
Methods: Studying the new discourse surrounding the Shennong symbol in Vietnam requires an interdisciplinary scientific approach, incorporating fields such as cultural studies, literature, Sino-Nom studies, and communication studies. In the process of addressing this issue, the author utilizes research methods such as textual analysis, field research, text analysis, comparative analysis, logic-historical analysis, harmonizing contemporary and historical perspectives, and analytical synthesis. These research methods are consistently applied by the author to provide a comprehensive and specific approach suitable for the current research task.
Results: Ancient records also affirm the blood relations of Shennong with significant figures in Vietnamese mythology, such as Lạc Long Quan, Au Co, and their descendants, the Hung kings. However, cultural expressions related to the figure of Shennong over the past 30 years (since 1991) have shown that the meaning of the Shennong symbol is evolving to better align with the demands of the modern era. Consequently, the significance of the Shennong symbol associated with agriculture still leaves an imprint on cultural practices, extending to symbolize the spirit of labor and building a new life in the contemporary age. Moreover, the Shennong symbol now holds a new meaning: a symbol of national unity.
Conclusions: In Vietnam, legends and records related to Shennong, along with the religious practices and worship of this deity, traditionally focused on the symbol's significance for agriculture, embodying the deep agrarian spirit of the Vietnamese people. In the modern era, the Shennong symbol in Vietnam has expanded its meaning to encompass the spirit of labor in building a new life in a different age. Simultaneously, it is gradually becoming a symbol of national unity. This reflects the Vietnamese people's aspiration to utilize the Shennong symbol for constructing a more prosperous future and for fostering a sense of connection and unity among the diverse Vietnamese communities in various regions.
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