Ho Chi Minh City


Two signs of Saigon’s summer

Photo of Entry:  Two signs of Saigon’s summer
The flamboyant tree and the cicada make it possible for those who are busy in their daily lives to share in the Saigonese summer.

To students in Vietnam, nothing is more closely associated with the summer holidays than the flamboyant flower and the cicada.

As the time for the bright orange red flower to blossom coincides with the end of the school year, this flower represents the many happy and sad school memories chronicling the year. In Vietnam, therefore, the flower is also called hoa hoc tro, the student’s flower.

Although HCMC is not Vietnam’s finest place for the flamboyant tree the northern coastal city of Haiphong wears this unofficial crown students in Saigon share the same feeling towards the flower when they see the flowers thick on the branches.

Flamboyant trees, with their shady foliage, are often grown in schoolyards. When the flower blossoms, it means summer has arrived.

The flamboyant flower has delicate petals. In the middle of the flower are long stamens, each of which has a head loosely attached to the stalk. In what is called the cock fighting game, young students use these stamens as their cocks, choosing the most robust ones. Players hook the two heads of stamens together and then pull them apart. Those who can get the head off their opponent’s stalks are the winners.

Not surprisingly, the flamboyant flower has inspired the creativity of artists, especially song writers. Among them, Thanh Son has composed a song that is arguably the most well-known song related to the flower. Entitled Noi Buon Hoa Phuong (Sorrow of the Flamboyant Flower), the song begins by stating that sorrow: Moi nam den he long man mac buon (Every year, when summer comes, it is tinged with sadness).

Thanh Son not only depicts the flamboyant flower in this song, he also mentions another element of the summer in the city, the cicada. Listen to him: Tieng ve nuc no buon hon tieng long (The loud sob of the cicada is even more sorrowful than the cry of the soul).

In the center of their city, where concrete buildings dominate, Saigonese are still able to note the presence of the animalistic sign of summer through the cicada’s acoustic talent.

Cicadas are benign creatures, but because they are not as active as fighting crickets, students are not interested in them. Yet biologists say the cicada can boast of being the loudest and most-efficient sound-producing insect. Our cicadas can claim their share of this fame be they in Hanoi or HCMC.

What Saigonese dub the song of the summer increases during afternoon sunshine following a shower in the morning. Go along the streets with rows of high trees, such as Nguyen Du, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Huyen Tran Cong Chua, and you will hear this song.

For many adult Saigonese who toil from dawn to dusk, the bright color of the flamboyant flower and the distinctive sound of cicadas are Nature’s gift, allowing them to enjoy the days of summer during their relaxing moments.

Source: vietnamtourism.com.vn

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