Hổ phụ lân nhi.

Tiger father, qilin child.

The meaning is praising father and child as extraordinary people. Tigers are symbols of strength and qilins (mythical chimera) are symbols of wisdom. This is similar to “Like father, like son,” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” (parents being the tree and children being the apple), and “A chip off the old block” (a woodchip from a block of wood).

Dù ai đi ngược về xuôi Nhớ ngày Giỗ Tổ mồng mười tháng ba Khắp miền truyền mãi câu ca Nước non vẫn nước non nhà ngàn năm

No matter who goes back and forth, Remember the death anniversary on the tenth of the third month, Throughout all regions the song is forever sung, Youthful country still youthful country thousand years house.

The meaning is to remind Vietnamese people, wherever we are, to remember our ancestors Hùng Kings (Hùng Vương) and our country has thousands of years to come. It commemorates the death anniversary of the Hùng Kings on the tenth day of the third lunar month. The Hùng Kings are considered as the founders of Vietnamese civilization, establishing the kingdom of Văn Lang – the first nation of the Vietnamese people. The Hùng King Temple is located in Việt Trì City, Phú Thọ Province.

Áo mặc chẳng khỏi qua đầu, Làm sao mày cũng chẳng hầu khỏi ta.

Shirts cannot be worn over one’s head, How you can you also almost depart from me.

The meaning is a tiger parent criticizing and disapproving of his/her child. Wearing shirts over one’s heads refers to disobedience of one’s parents.

Anh em thật thậm là hiền, Bởi một đồng tiền làm mất lòng nhau.

True brothers are gentle, Because of one copper money their love is lost.

The meaning is disappointment that money/self-interest can create distance between siblings and complaining about sibling’s greed; money ruins relationships.

Anh em như chân như tay, Vợ chồng như áo cởi ngay tức thì.

Brothers are like hands and feet, Husband and wife are like clothes instantly taken off.

The meaning is a brother/sister complaining that the sibling listens to his/her spouse and treats family poorly. This is equivalent to the phrase “blood is thicker than water.”

Anh này rõ khéo làm ăn, Đi cày chẳng biết chít khăn mượn người.

This man is so clever at work, He does not know how to plow and borrows others’ headscarf.

The meaning is a wife being sarcastic about her husband’s ability.  Reliable men should know how to plow the fields and wrap their own headscarves.     

Ai kêu vòi vọi bên tai, Ta đang bắt chí cho người tình nhân.

Who whispers in my ear, I am delousing my lover.

The meaning is a woman being loyal to her lover and not distracted by other men. Checking for lice in hair is a grooming activity between people close to each other (e.g., wife-husband).

Anh ngủ, em thức, em chực, anh đi nằm.

Elder brother sleeps, younger brother stays awake, younger brother takes watch, elder brother lies down.

The meaning is criticizing the selfishness of the elder brother. It can be contrasted against the phrase “Anh ngủ, em thức, anh chực, em nằm / Elder brother sleeps, younger brother stays awake, elder brother takes watch, younger brother lies down” where brothers take turns.