What to Know About Vietnamese Culture

What to Know About Vietnamese Culture


Every country has a different culture that they follow – some are unique and some are utterly intriguing. Vietnam, in particular, is no exemption. What to know about Vietnamese culture?

There are several customs that revolve around the country, so if you find anything interesting – know it’s part of what makes Vietnam colorful.

Ancestor Worship

Locals believe that their ancestors continue to live in another dimension and the living must somehow meet their needs. To return the favor, it is said that their ancestors bring good fortune and provide advice.

Every house that you might enter in Vietnam has a small altar that serves as a commune with their departed loved ones. The ritual consists of fruit offering, wine, votive paper, lighting candles, burning incense, and food.

Most altars are located in the largest room in the house following the tradition. During the last day of the lunar year, a special announcing cult called cung tien thuong is performed to summon the departed ancestors to return home and celebrate the Tet holidays with the living family.

During the death anniversary of an ancestor, the progenies and relatives come together and prepare a feast in honor of the dead person. They would ask for good health and happiness for the family. This tradition is passed down from generation to generations and is well practiced

Ancestor Worship in Vietnam

Burning votive paper

You might stumble upon one of the houses of your local friend and notice someone burning some papers. For all you know these are not just regular papers.

These are locally known as votive papers which can be a substitute for a house, clothing, fake money, motorbikes, and cars. These are then offered to ancestors as presents.

Once burned, a sprinkle of wine is then showered on the ashes so the spirits can ascend to heaven and bring the gifts for the ancestors’ perusal. This ritual is regularly performed during festivals, new and full moon days, death anniversaries, or Lunar New Year.

Burning Votive Paper Culture in Vietnam

Tet Holiday

The Tet Holiday takes place from the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar – this can be around the last week of January to the first week of February. This can last for three days and is filled with exciting family reunions. It is celebrated with an immense desire for a year of happiness, prosperity, and greatness ahead.

Tet Holiday in Vietnam

Celebrating a baby’s first month

This tradition is similar to the Chinese custom called “manyue”. The Vietnamese day thang celebrates the first full lunar month of a newborn into the world. In which, 28 days is a girl’s full lunar month while a boy’s is 29 days. It is believed that newborn male babies are weaker than females.

Vietnamese mothers need to stay indoors too and recuperate from giving birth for a full 1 month. During the celebration, guests and relatives give the mother and the child luck money.

The 1 lunar month also provides the newborn some buffer to boost its immunity to germs prior to being exposed to a lot of people. It is also interesting to note that Vietnamese newborn babies are only given names during the full month party.

Celebrating a baby's first month in Vietnam

God of Wealth Worship in business

Have you heard about the God of Wealth? In Vietnam, Than Tai ( God of Wealth) serves as a “benefactor” that brings fortune into business.

Most shops, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels in Vietnam have a small altar placed in a well ventilated location which is usually in a corner or in the front of the entrance.

The locals believe that the God of Wealth used to reside in heaven however, due to excessive drinking, he fell into the world and lost his memory. From then on, he started begging for daily essentials to survive.

The story says, the God of Wealth accidentally met an owner of an eatery. He was then invited for a hearty meal which then marked the first time that the eatery was flooded with customers. The eatery owner then begged the man to stay as he sees it beneficial to his business.

The Vietnamese think that God of Wealth used to be in heaven. Once due to drinking too much, he fell into this world and lost his memory. He started to go begging for daily survival.

On the 10th day of the God of Wealth’s stay, he suddenly gained his memory back and returned to heaven. And with that, it is believed that the 10th day of each month is the day of the God of Wealth.

On the 10th day of the first lunar month, families with business pray for a new year of great fortune and wealth.

God of Wealth Worship in Business in Vietnam

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