Tomb Sweeping Ceremony in Vietnam

In Vietnam before Lunar New Year (or Tet Holiday or Tet), there is Tomb Sweeping Ceremony. The Ceremony happens from December 8th to December 25th of the Lunar New Year. Each family has its own rule, there is a family choosing the 8th, there is a family choosing the 15th or 25th and so on. This is a unique culture of Vietnamese people.


Vietnamese people have an idiom: “Sống cái nhà, thác cái mồ” (English: Living a house, dying a tomb). It means that a house is a very important possession for an alive person and a tomb is a very important one for a dead person. Before cleaning their houses to enjoy Tet, Vietnamese people clean the tombs of their ancestors and relatives. This shows gratitude to ancestors and the love to dead relatives. This is a nice virtue of Vietnamese people.

Tomb Sweeping Ceremony in Vietnam

Activity on Tomb Sweeping Ceremony

In the tomb area

In Vietnam, dead people are usually buried according to each area. On the chosen day, the members of the big family gather at the tomb area of their ancestors and relatives. Firstly, they lay out some offerings in the tomb area to offer to the Earth God (the offerings are usually simple, which are a small plate of cakes, 3 mall glass of tea water, 3 incense sticks. All are put on a tray). Then the representative of the big family burns the incense and prays, “Today is the day…the month…the year. Like a usual rule, we gather back here to clean the tomb the ancestor and the relatives. Please, Earth God eat cakes and drink tea, and allow us to do this work.” After that, they sweep, clean and wash tombs. Finally, they plug in incense on each tomb.

In the house

Sweeping tombs ends, everybody goes into the house to offer the ancestor, and relatives’ souls. First, everybody lays out offerings. The offerings are divided into many trays: a tray for the ancestor, a tray for the Earth God and some trays for relatives’ souls placed in the house, a tray for lonely souls placed in front of the house. After laying out offerings, the representative of the big family burns incense to invite them to eat and drink and support the family. Offering ends, everybody eats, drinks and talks with each other friendly. Especially, there are some relatives working far from home, on this day, they have the opportunity to meet relatives again. Thanks to this occasion, the kinship was strengthened.

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