khan dong avaThe Vietnamese traditional wedding headdress of the brides looks beautiful and unique. When you see it, you think about Vietnam. This charming hat reminds us of a frisbee with a hole in the center, especially from the side view. But it definitely catches the eye and suits Vietnamese women perfectly. To Christians, this headdress might also bring to mind the nimbuses we see at religious icons. And why not treat a bride a bit like a goddess?!

This headpiece is called a “khan dong”. It is an ornate and colorful band worn by women around the head, and not just any women but Vietnamese brides. This is a specific wedding headwear.

A khan dong has a complicated construction. It is made from many layers of fabric glued together one over the other. A long strip of fabric is wound around the template many times to create this round shape. The cardboard is used as a stiff frame. The surface formed by multiple layers of cloth is usually adorned with some decoration – embroidery, beadwork, lace, gems, applique, and so on.

The size, color, and amount of decoration can be different, depending on the woman’s desire or taste, her wedding dress, and the whim of the designer who’s created the khan dong. The most popular colors are red and gold – red because this is the traditional color of wealth and celebration, so people typically choose it for wedding attire, and gold because it suits practically any color palette and is the universal color for wealth. But there are also white, green, pink, cream khan dongs available.


Vietnamese bride and groom wearing khan dong headdresses
Vietnamese bride and groom wearing khan dong


We should mention that not only brides wear the khan dong. A male version also exists – it is a round band as well, but it’s smaller and has a bit different design. At many Vietnamese weddings, the bride, the groom, and even the bridesmaids and groomsmen use khan dong headdresses, though the bride shows off the biggest and most eye-catching one.


Different khan dong hats of the bride and groomsmen
Different khan dong hats of the bride and groomsmen


This headpiece is very handy because it allows the bride to make an elaborate hairstyle in addition to the hat. Most often, women choose some kind of a bun or updo at the nape, but it can be a rather intricate hairdo, with pins, gems, pearls, flowers, etc embellishing the hair. But the khan dong can be worn even on loose hair hanging down – it will look as lovely as with an updo.

The khan dong is an authentic Vietnamese headpiece. It was used by the local brides hundreds of years ago and is still popular today. And it’s no wonder, the headdress is charming and is one of the symbols of Vietnamese culture.

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