Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Vietnam festivals is distinguished by regions and religions

Vietnam festivals is distinguished  by regions and religions. Each local festival is based on the myth of its guardian spirit hero.

Each local festival is based on the myth of its guardian spirit hero. For example, in the myth of the hero Phu Dong, a three year old mute child quickly grew into a giant warrior to fight off the northern invaders. During the festival commemorating Phu Dong’s achievements, four strong and handsome “generals” are selected among a village of young men. These “generals” lead other young men to the river’s edge in a dramatic re-enactment of the decisive battle against the invaders. At the Keo pagoda in Thai Binh province, boat races performed yearly represent the journey of the village guardian, a mystic monk named Khong Lo. The miracle-performing monk, a healer, journeyed to the capital to cure the king. In Le Mat village, the myth of the village hero killing the monster snake is re-enacted by a powerful villager performing a warrior dance around a “snake.” The “snake” is played by nine village youths.

If festivals are religious events, then what religion do they represent? Taoism was born in the end of the second century in China. When it came to Vietnam it mixed with local folk beliefs and practices. Taoism in Vietnam became a richly textured religion of gods, super heroes and ghosts, and it integrated shamanism, agricultural religious beliefs, ancestor worship and the worship of heroes, especially the guardian spirit of the village. Buddhism developed in Vietnam in the Middle Ages and became the spiritual foundation of ordinary people, while Confucianism became the basic ideology of intellectuals and state officials called mandarins. When Buddhism integrated with Taoist and folk beliefs in Vietnam, it became transformed into a new religion, called “Folk Buddhism.” For example, the folk-female Vietnamese deity, the goddess of rain, merged with the Buddhist pantheon. She is still worshipped for her powers over rain at the Dau Buddhist pagoda where her statue is larger than Buddha’s. A yearly festival is organized to pray to her for rain and a good crop. Festivals are an encyclopedia and living museum of Vietnamese spiritual and cultural activities, of mores, traditions and mythology. That is why to understand traditional Vietnamese people whose civilization evolved from the region of the Red River, one will want to understand their festivals. So long as their presence doesn’t distract from the sanctity of the occasion, villages along Red River delta welcome visitors to their festivals.

Thu nhỏ
Travel consultancy