Vu Lan – The deep-rooted Buddhist Ceremony Dedicated to Parents and Ancestors


If you are interested in Vietnamese culture, Vu Lan ceremony must definitely must-join ceremony during you Vietnam culture tours. It’s not just an ordinary festival, Vu Lan is an important ceremony that contributes to the variety of cultural identities in Vietnam.

Let’s us make a brief introduction about Vu Lan before you go on culture tours in Vietnam:

Vu Lan ceremony

Vu Lan ceremony

Vu Lan is one of the main holidays of Buddhism and is rooted in Chinese customs.

The origin of the ceremony

Bodhisattva Maudgalyayana

Bodhisattva Maudgalyayana

Derived from the story of Bodhisattva Maudgalyayana has hastily saved his mother from evil ghosts. Vu Lan is an annual holiday to commemorate parents (and their ancestors in general) – parents of this and previous lives.

According to the Vu Lan, in the past, Bodhisattva Maudgalyayana has successfully cultivated many miraculous powers. His mother, Thanh De, had died, he missed his mother and wanted to know how was her. He used his eyes to see the heaven and hell to find. Seeing his mother, because of causing many evil karmic, she had to born as hungry ghosts, which was always hungry and thirsty. He brought rice to the devil realms for his mother. However, due to hunger, his mother used to cover her rice bowl with one hand to prevent other spirits from the robbery. So when the food brought to her mouth, it turned into red fire.

According to Vu-Lan-tub, Muc Lien returned to find the Buddha to ask for his mother rescue, the Buddha said: “Your generous magic is not enough to save her. The only way is teaming up with the monks. On the full moon day of July is a good day to welcome the monks, prepare the ceremony on that day.”

The Buddha

The Buddha

According to the Buddha, Muc Lien’s mother was liberated. Buddha also taught that: beings who want to show their piety to their parents can also do this way. Since then, Vu Lan ceremony has been born.

Meaning of worship

Vu Lan coincides with the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in Asia. According to folk belief, this is the day of the opening of the prison, the amnesty for the victims should be worshiping the soul (from the afternoon onwards) for homeless shelter without relatives. This is also the day when all inmates in Hell have the opportunity to be absolved, to be born in the realm of peace.

On this day, every family offers two dishes: offering ancestors at the ancestral altar and worshiping the sentient beings in the front yard or on the sidewalk (if wide). The time of worship may be in the morning, noon or afternoon.

On the ancestral cart, the family placed a tray of salty salmon, gold coins, and supplies for the land of the yew. The code was made of paper symbolic but shaped like real clothes such as clothes, shoes, jacket, palace, horse, jewelry, kepi helmet, maid, etc. to modern things: tall buildings, cars Automobiles, motorcycles, telephone, etc. let the yin men have a comfortable life in the other world. These are usually made at production facilities (known as the Golden City in Cholon City) which are transported throughout the provinces.

In addition to the grandparents’ ancestors in the house, at the Vu Lan festival, people also donated outside offerings called porridge, burns, boiled flowers with rice, salt, gold for the souls and hungry ghosts.

In the “soul month”, traditional Vietnamese people believe that is an unlucky month, so if anyone has the accident or bad luck, often blame this time.

Vegetarianism, blessing, liberation, generosity is the way people dedicate merit to their parents have died.

To alleviate the unfortunate, people set up many taboos, as well as encourage vegetarianism to avoid killing and good luck. In addition, there are offerings, blessings, release, generosity to transfer merit to the lost parents.

During the Vu Lan holiday, thousands of temples in the Central area are open from early morning till late to welcome people to burn incense, pray for their loved ones. On this occasion, together with the organization of the festival, the supper for the spirituality, etc. The Board of the Buddhist Church of provinces and cities also organized many philanthropic activities help patients, the poor, the unfortunate children.

Vu Lan ceremony with many activities

Vu Lan ceremony with many activities

With Vietnam culture tour, you will experience all of the above activities in Vu Lan ceremony. The best way learn about a country is learning about their culture. It’s worth to take this trip and join this holiday once.

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