Before 1975 Vietnamese had had the custom putting up the neu tree on the Vietnamese new year.
The neu tree consists of a bamboo having the length of about five meters and a piece of red material having the length of three meters or shorter. On the material there are amulet words. Besides, there are some other things such as musical stone, bow and arrow picture with the head towards the east. All has purpose preventing devils from human beings.
There is a fairy tale talking about the neu tree on the Vietnamese new year.
Once upon a time devils occupied whole the country. The human beings were just employees and gave up most rice harvested to them.
The greed of the devils did not have the bottom. One day they produced the rule “eating tops, giving roots”. That year the human beings only have rice stubble.
The Buddha saw so, pitied and gave a favor. The Buddha told the human beings to grow sweet potatoes. Therefore, at the harvest the devils only received trunks and leaves, the human beings received bulbs. In spite of being very angry, the devils could not speak anything.
Until other crop, the devils produced the rule “eating roots, giving tops”. The Buddha told the human beings to grow rice again. The devils lost again and got angrier.
On the next crop, the devils produce the rule “eating both roots and tops”. The Buddha gave lots of corn seeds human beings to sow everywhere. The devils did not get anything, human beings harvest lots of corns.
Finally, the devils decided to force human beings to have to return all fields, not to do any more.
The Buddha told the human beings to buy a small piece of land of the devils. It was as large as the shade of the monk robe hanging on the top of a bamboo tree. They saw money, desired and agreed to sell the land. The Buddha used the sorcery to make the shake cover whole the land. The devils lost the land, so they ran to the eastern sea.
Because of losing the land, the devils gathered soldiers to rob it again. They lost this battle because human beings used dog blood, garlic, lime to fight. Before returned the eastern sea, the devils had asked the Buddha for following them to go into the mainland to visit the tombs of the ancestor every year. The Buddha felt pity, so he agreed.
Therefore, every year, on Tet occasion the devils go into the mainland. The human beings follow the before way, setting up a neu tree where they live to prevent the devils.
The Vietnamese fairy tale explains reason why people must set up the neu tree at Tet. The story contains Buddhism philosophy, making goodness meets goodness, making badness meets badness.
Yearly, On the twenty-thirteenth of December of Lunar Calendar everybody puts up the neu trees near their houses to prevent the fierce devils. The neu trees are pulled up on the seventh of January of Lunar Calendar
Nowadays, setting up the neu at Tet is not common throughout the country, but the neu image still remain in the old ‘s mind. The story about the neu tree has effect advising us to carry out goodness.
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