TRADITIONAL FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATIONS IN VIETNAM
Like other countries, Vietnam has big ceremonies in a year. These are traditional ceremonies. They have been in the mind of Vietnamese people for thousands of years. Most of people take part in these ceremonies. Oversea Vietnamese always remember them too. They are a part of the Vietnamese culture, which you need to access Vietnamese people easily, especially the people have Vietnamese wife or husband. Following we will talk about them. Firstly, we talk about big TRADITIONAL FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATIONS IN VIETNAM in lunar calendar.
1.TET NGUYEN DAN (TET FESTIVAL)
Nguyen Dan Phrase comes from Chinese. Tet means weather, NGUYEN means first, DAN means early morning. Therefore Tet Nguyen Dan phrase means the first early morning weather. That is the name of the lunar new year. It is the most important celebration for Vietnamese people. It is a time for families to clean and decorate their home. And enjoy special food such as sticky rice cakes. Family members who live apart try to be together at Tet. Today Tet lasts three days. Formerly it lasted longer, seven days or fifteen days. Officers, workers and students are allowed to rest on these days.
2.TET NGUYEN TIEU (LANTERN FESTIVAL)
Tet Nguyen Tieu phrase comes from Chinese. Tet means weather, Nguyen means first, Tieu is night. Therefore, Tet Nguyen Tieu means that the weather is the first shining moon night of the year. Former people use this phrase to call the time around the lunar fifteenth of the first month. On the fourteenth and fifteenth nights, the sky is not cloudy, the moon shine. Tet Nguyen Tieu is also called Le Thuong Nguon (上元 禮). Le means ceremony, Thuong means above, Nguyen is understood as a period. Thuong Nguon means the first period of a year. At Tet Nguyen Tieu or Le Thuong Nguon. People usually go to pagoda to pray and enjoy special food, especially Che Troi nuoc (a kind of sweet rice).
3. GIO TO HUNG VUONG (HUNG KING’S COMMEMORATIONS)
Gio To Hung Vuong or Death anniversary of Hung king is on the lunar tenth of the third month. Hung is the first king of Vietnam. He lived four thousand years ago. Vietnamese people celebrate to show deep gratitude to him and his descendant. On death anniversary day of Hung king, officers, workers and students are allowed to rest. The ceremony is held at Hung temple in Phu Tho province and all temples of villages throughout the country. Oversea Vietnamese in foreign countries also hold this ceremony. On this day, people offer special food, especially sticky rice cakes on the altar.
4. LE PHAT DAN (BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY)
Le Phat Dan means the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. It is on the lunar fifteenth of the fourth month. This ceremony is organized bigly in Vietnam. Pagodas are decorated solemnly. Buddhists go to pagodas and listen to lectures of Buddha reasons, offering presents to monks to show deep gratitude. People crowd the streets to watch colorful parades with colorful flower cars. On this occasion, pagodas give gifts to the poor, the ill and the disabled.
5. TET DOAN NGO (MID-YEAR FESTIVAL)
Tet Doan Ngo phrase comes from Chinese. Tet means weather, Doan means begin, Ngo is name of the fifth month of lunar. Therefore, Tet Doan Ngo phrase means that the weather is in the beginning of the fifth month. Tet Doan Ngo is named for the ceremony happening on the fifth of the fifth month. Tet Doan Ngo is also called Tet Trung Ngu. Trung Ngu means the same number five. The ceremony relates to the story of Khuat Nguyen, a talented officer of Chinese formerly. He was slighted by the king , so he killed himself by jumping down river. He died on the lunar fifth of the fifth month. People regretted him a lot, so they got the date when he died to celebrate to remember him. On Tet Doan Ngo day people offer ancestor offering such as tea, wine, fruit, especially “tro” cake, a kind of cake made from sticky rice. The people who live near the beach usually go swimming on this occasion.
6. LE VU LAN (GHOST FESTIVAL)
Vu Lan happens on the lunar fifteenth of the seventh month. The ceremony purposes is showing gratitude to parents, ancestor. This ceremony relates with Muc Kien Lien (目犍連) story. He was born in northern India in about 568 and died in about 484 before Christ born. Muc Kien Lien is big disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha and has much magic. He saw his mother Mrs Thanh De being in the hell and being a hungry demon. He used magic to make rice and gave it to his mother eating. Because of her greedy habit and being hungry for a long time, she used her hand to cover the rice bowl so that other demons did not scramble. The rice became fire. Muc Kien Lien could not save his mother with his magic, so he asked the Buddha for help. The Buddha told Muc Kien Lien to invite the monks in ten directions for praying to save his mother. Her mother was released from the hell. The Buddha advised someone who wanted to help his or her parents also used this way. On Vu Lan ceremony day people usually go to pagoda, do volunteer work, donate ancestor.
7. TET TRUNG THU (MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL)
Tet Trung Thu means the weather in the middle of the fall. The ceremony is on the lunar fifteenth of the eighth month. On occasion, children are given gifts such as lanterns, moon cakes, candy…They bring lantern, going throughout towns, villages and dance, sing. They also are seen lion dance. Adults offer ancestor fruit, moon cake… and see the moon. This is the ceremony of children.
8. RAM THANG MUOI (MID-OCTOBER FESTIVAL)
Ram Thang Muoi means the lunar fifteenth of the tenth month. There are three the big lunar fifteenth in a year, They are the fifteenth of the first month, the fifteenth of the seventh month, the fifteenth of the tenth month. They are known as Le Thuong Nguon (上元 禮), Le Trung Nguon (中元 禮), and Le ha nguon (下元 禮). On these three days both religioners and not religioners usually go to pagoda, temple and keep a vegetarian diet.
9. ONG TAO CHAU TROI (KITCHEN GUARDIANS)
Ong Tao chau Troi means The Kitchen God comes back to meet the God (the creator). On the lunar twenty third of the twelfth every year, he has the duty going to the paradise to report good or bad things to the God. The ceremony relates to The Kitchen God story. Trong Cao had the wife Thi Nhi. They lived for a long time, but no children, so they were sad and usually argued with each other. Thi Nhi leaved home and met Pham Lang and accepted as his wife. Trong Cao missed his wife and looked for her. It took a long time to look for, so he was exhausted money and became a beggar. When Trong Cao came to Thi Nhi ‘s house, both of them recognize each other. Thi Nhi covered him in a straw pile. Pham Lang Came back home and burn straw to get ashes for fertilizing paddy-field. Trong Cao died of fire. Thi Nhi killed herself with fire and Pham Lang also died after that. The god realized the loyalty of three the people, so gave them as kitchen god. So there are three kitchen gods, two men and two women. On the day when The kitchen God come back to meet The God, people lay full offering to offer The Kitchen God. The offering consists of food, flowers, fruit and joss paper. On this day, people also release carps. They believe that The Kitchen God come back paradise with carps.
Above are big ceremonies in lunar calendar in Viet Nam. We will talk about big ceremonies of solar calendar in the following time. Would you like to read?