The water lily harvest takes place in the labyrinth of water and land of the Mekong Delta and is one of the many wonders of Vietnam. This community revolves around water, in a tangle of islands and canals from which villages, floating markets and fascinating pagodas stand out. The water lily season in the Mekong Delta lasts from early June to mid-November which is the rainy season or the annual flooding season. At this time of the year, when the canals and rice fields overflow, the whole area is covered in a mantle of white and pink lilies. Since water lilies are wild plants, they do not need planting or caring.
The white water lilies are also called 'ghost flowers' since they bloom only at night. These gorgeous aquatic plants have always been an iconic symbol of the Mekong River. This event attracts local farmers in a harvest that somewhat simulates a synchronised activity, a harmonious game of soft and sinuous movements, which is one of the most romantic ceremonies in the world. They make absolutely stunning imagery that attracts photographers and tourists from all over the world.
During flood season in the delta, women wearing conical hats steer long-tail boats to harvest water lilies in the Long An province of the Mekong Delta. Wading into waist-deep water, they rinse and bundle the plants for sale at markets and to restaurants. It is said that these women learned boating from their mothers and grandmothers.
The flowers are used for decoration and to make tea. Their stalks are edible and can be eaten raw with fermented paste or braised sauce, or dunked into sour soup and hotpot.
These water lilies help people earn additional income and improve their lives during the flooding season.
Unlike elsewhere, where floods often result in destruction, the flooding in the Mekong Delta is seen as a gift from heaven that brings fish into the paddy fields along with organic matter and alluvial deposits to fertilize the next crop. It also eliminates a great part of the salinity in the soil of coastal areas and flushes out toxicity released from acid sulphate soil, while also curbing the insect and rat populations.
However, pollution and changes in the water quality due to various human activities and shifts in agricultural practices are affecting these blooms which pose a challenge to the region and its scenic beauty. Communities need to find sustainable solutions to this soon so that cultural practices and tourism can coexist.
About the Embroidery:
This is my first attempt at aerial embroidery (#aerialembroidery) view along with additional medium other than threads. I have used felt for water lily leaves and hats of the lily pluckers and used fabric glue to stick them to the fabric, and fabric paint for the water. The embroidery part comprises of french knots, backstitches, satin stitches and stem stitches.