Vietnamese Water Puppets

Vietnamese water puppets
Vietnamese water puppets – photo: chriskay

Water puppetry is a Vietnamese tradition that dates back almost a thousand years. Think of it as a more refined Punch & Judy show with less shouting and a lot more water!

Water puppet orchestra
And the band played on… – photo: Tom Caswell

The puppeteers move their puppets using a series of bamboo rods and rope hidden beneath a pool of water, giving the illusion that the puppets are walking on water. Accompanied by a traditional orchestra, these intricate shows tell stories of local folklore passed down through the generations.

A Vietnamese water puppet
A water puppet, on dry land – photo: momo

Originating from the rice fields of northern Vietnam, farmers working in the flooded rice paddies would perform water puppet shows not only for entertainment, but also to amuse the spirits who might otherwise be causing mischief.

A rice field in Vietnam
Looking forward to puppet time – photo: Chuwa (Francis)

Almost a thousand years later the only thing that has really changed is the location. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi is now considered one of the best places to enjoy this ancient art – just remember not to shout “He’s behind you!”

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About Ben Amps

Ben Amps

A couple of years ago I was suffering from heartbreak in the midst of a cold Canadian winter. I quit my job, packed my bag and jumped into my trusty Dodge Caravan, heading south for warmer climates.

I spent the next 8 weeks living in my car, starting in minus 30 degree weather until I reached the plus 30 degree warmth of the Mexican border.

Glaciers, deserts, avalanches, canyons, bears, auroras, wolves, volcanos and whales, I saw it all! It was the most incredible journey of my life and safe to say when I returned to Calgary 20,000 kilometres later, my broken heart had fully healed!

Ben works in our claims department

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