Tourist will never know how important “gui” is in life of every single ethnic women in the mountainous land of Sapa and the whole northwestern Vietnam.
“Gui” has its own a legend about belief, about life and about love. Once upon a time, in the mountainous land, there was a couple, they were so in love that they couldn’t live without each other. Unfortunately, parents of the young girl don’t want together because of the poverty of her lover and make the bot leave the village. Thank for the admirable love, she decided to find her beloved boyfriend no matter where he is. Then she made an exotic bamboo basket as an ultimate belonging. Finally, they found each other and live happily for the rest of their life.
From infant, a little girl lean to familiar with this domestic object by following her mother to the field. When they are bigger, the mother will give her young girl a new little one made by herself. When she get married, her father will make a new one for her and stuff with a lot off marriage presents. After became a mother, when the mother can’t leave her new born child at home and go to work, she piggybacks her little love by the help of her “gui”. That’s why it’s not exaggeration to say that from the birth day, a woman already tie her life with a “gui”.
Going to the field, coming by the market, visiting pagoda or participating a festival… wherever ethnic women go, they go with a “gui” on their back. Furthermore, this traditional basket can be considered as a mirror which reflect the goodness, the characteristic of the women. A good girl will piggybacks her “gui” representing her hard-working habit, her perfect quality for becoming a good wife.
Furthermore, you can easily see that women bring her basket every time they go out. By visiting the field, she use it to bring with her many farming tools, then return with many more a lot of fresh corn or some wild vegetables. A walk to the market, her “gui” will help them a lot by charging a lot of stuff as merchandise such as agricultural products, handicraft, or homemade corn wine… and bring back foods and new clothes and many “bargain”…
Though outside or inside the house, the bamboo basket always play such an important role in daily life. In the summer, people may but clothes or many unnecessary items like blankets or fabric in the bamboo basket meanwhile this tool turn into a nice place to store dried foods or corn in the winter. In no doubt, as a part of the women life, “gui” is more than a useful domestic object but a friend of life which share the difficulties, the charges of day-to-day running a family.
In fact, according to seniors in the village, a habit of using “gui” make turn this indispensable items into a sources of confident, of energies when people are in front of the nature. Thus, in occasion of Tet, Hmong people celebrate a ceremony to thank the ultimate role of this simple basket in life, in work… in that graceful day, after pasted a red paper outside the basket people are supposed to say a sincere prayer and give a meal as a worship.
A trip to Sapa is really an ultimate journey which broaden you mind with many new things and especially the colorful culture of people in the highlands of the extreme northern of the country.