Đinh Bảo Ngọc - Chatham University, Pennsylvania
This is a graduation photo of my high school class. In the photo, the girls wore Vietnamese traditional costume which is called “Ao Dai”. The white Ao Dai is considered the basic and original one and is usually worn by high school girls in Vietnam. Ao Dai represents the most precious qualities and beauty of Vietnamese people in general and women specifically. Some girls are holding lotus, often considered Vietnamese emblem. Lotus is believed to represent Vietnamese people’s characteristics. Lotus grows from mud and dirt but are always beautiful. Like lotus, people try to keep their honesty and discipline in any circumstance.
It is a tradition for university and high school students to wear Ao Dai and take photos around their graduation time. Every April and May, it is common to see groups of people walking around campus in traditional costumes. At such time, we usually receive invitations to take photos with close friends and relatives who graduate. I think this customs help create and also store good memories of academic life.