Chuong Village - Unique craft of making conical hats

Chuong Village, located 30 kilometers from Hanoi's center, is modestly situated by the Day River. For more than three centuries, the village has been known for its skill in making Nón Lá (conical hats).

The village's craft of making the Vietnamese traditional hat dates back three centuries. Conical hats were made as decorative items for princesses and royalty in ancient times. Visitors now come to the village not only to buy hats, but also to see how the hats are made.

Conical hats are traditionally all the same size. However, as more tourists seek them out, hats are now made in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small (for souvenirs) to larger versions.

Children in this village can also make conical hats. They make the hats during the time following harvest. This enables villagers to increase their incomes, improve their living standards, and contribute to the improvement of their home village.

The hats require a significant amount of time and effort to create. Green palm leaves are delivered from the central provinces. The leaves must be processed before being sun-dried. It takes a skilled weaver to weave the leaves into the shape of the hat. 15 rounds of weaving are required for each hat.

Chuong village's conical hats are not only worn on a daily basis, but they are also used for interior decoration in homes, restaurants, hotels, and resorts.

The Vietnamese conical hat, also known as Non la, has become a cultural trait as well as a part of Vietnam's national custom. Conical hats have long symbolized Vietnamese women and the Vietnamese countryside, expressing the simple beauty of the country's femininity as well as their hard work and love for their families. Women wore hats everywhere, not only to protect themselves from the sun and rain, but also to enhance their beauty.

Chuong Village's artisan can make conical hats all year, but summer is the busiest season. Each family prepares a large quantity of raw materials in order to produce thousands of hats. There are many steps in the hat-making process: some families specialize in leaves, others in hats, and still others in laths.

Chuong Village also produces other types of hats, such as Non Ba Tam (palm hats with strap tassels) and Non Thung (hats in the shape of baskets).

Local artisans, according to artisan Le Van Tuy, must be innovative in order to meet the tastes of tourists and consumers. They may combine cotton, straw, or other materials on a single hat, paint it with a lotus pattern or other interesting decorative patterns, and so on.


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