Vietnamese Folk Beliefs

Introduction

Like everywhere in the world, since ancient times the peoples of Vietnam have worshiped many gods. The peoples worshiped all the intangible and tangible forces that were essentially unexplained natural and social phenomena at the time. Today, thanks to the research, festivals, existing customs, we know more about the material life and the spirit of the ancient Vietnamese peoples in general and their beliefs in particular.

Gods worshipping

The ancient Vietnamese believed that everything had a soul, so people worshiped many gods, originally, they worshiped the Sun, Moon, Earth, River, Sea, Thunder, Rain and so on, the gods associated with the practical dreams of agricultural life. They also worshiped Shennong, who oversaw the fields, Rice God and Corn God in the hope of always having enough food. Not only the gods were associated with the material life but peoples also worshipped the gods associated with their spiritual life; Vietnamese people worshipped Thanh Hoang gods (gods control villages), national heroes, gods of Mother Religion, which were the gods who Vietnamese people believe that they have made great contributions to the country and villages. Like the Chinese, the Vietnamese worshipped Fortune, Earth God. Cham people worshipped gods like Po Nagar and Po Rome. Especially, Vietnamese people also worshipped God. God’s altar was usually placed in front of a house. The above gods worshipping custom has still exited until now.

Ancestors worshipping

Ancestor worship and death anniversary are a long tradition of Vietnamese. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors are also next to their descendants and bless them. Because of that, every family has an ancestor altar which is placed in the most solemn place in the house. Every evening they lit incense, and every early morning they offer tea water. On the first day and the full moon, they display fruit on the altar decently. In addition, on the death anniversary and the Lunar New Year, they organize a big party to offer the ancestor. Talking about ancestor worshipping custom, everyone knows of a common death anniversary of Vietnamese people, which is King Hung Vuong’s death anniversary on March 10th of the lunar calendar).

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