On the occasion, some of the Vietnamese troops had an opportunity to experience “Khleb-sol” - the traditional greeting of the Russian people.

Russian young women offering bread to the Vietnamese guests

According to the tradition, young Russian women in traditional costumes present honored guests with a loaf of bread (Khleb) placed on an embroidered ritual cloth. A salt (sol) cellar is placed on top of the bread loaf. The guests will break off a piece of bread, dip it in salt, and eat it. The ceremony serves as a symbol of the beginning of the friendship of the two sides.

For the Russian people, bread has a special meaning. For most people, having no bread at home means having nothing to eat so bread and salt have always occupied a special place on their tables. In the past, salt was so expensive that all people valued it.

Salt also represents the purity of the soul. Because of their values, bread and salt have become the symbol of wealth and health. When hosting important and respectful guests, young Russian women in beautiful national costumes offer them bread and salt to show their hospitality and their wish for good health and luck. The beautiful culture of Khleb-sol has been preserved and become a popular tradition of Russia, especially at receptions for foreign leaders and international sports teams and at weddings. 

Although they have learnt about the Khleb-sol through books, newspapers, films, and photos before coming to Russia, members of the Vietnamese delegation could not still hide their surprise and excitement when experiencing the interesting culture of the Russian people. 

“Nipping a piece of bread, dipping it in salt, and eating it are interesting experiences. Bread with salt is good. More importantly, I feel the respect and hospitality of the Russian people,” said Colonel Pham Tuan Luc, Head of the Engineering Team.

The Russian people are well-known for their hospitality. The reputation was observed from the moment when the Vietnamese delegation arrived at Sheremetyevo International Airport. After warmly welcoming the Vietnamese troops, representatives from relevant agencies of the Russian Defense Ministry helped the guests complete all essential procedures and accommodated them. 

A birthday cake and card for First Lieutenant Ngo Tao Quang

While staying in the hotel, members of the Vietnamese delegation were served with hot nutritious meals and desserts by Russian service staff. The country’s interpreters and liaison officers were enthusiastic in assisting the Vietnamese guests.

It was a nice surprise and a sweet memory for First Lieutenant Ngo Tao Quang, a reporter from the Army Broadcasting Center to have a birthday cake and card from the hotel.

Reported by reporters from the People’s Army Newspaper

Translated by Tran Hoai