Vu Lan Festival

Floating lanterns into the sky

If you are going to drop over Vietnam in August, chances are you would be likely lớn witness two of the most important holidays in Vietnam occurring on the occasion of the Full-moon day in Lunar July. These two are known to be The Ghost Festival and Vu Lan Festival, which clearly bear a significant contrast against one another. However, those events are frequently misconceived as one that is known under one name, the Ghost Festival. How different are they & why vày people fail to distinguish? Read further to lớn find out!

Ghost Festival

Even many local Vietnamese tend to refer Ghost Festival & Vu Lan as one, which used as another colloquial term of “Rằm tháng Bảy”, or the Full-moon Day of Lunar July. Yet in reality, these two significantly contrast. Ghost Festival, or “Ngày Xá Tội Vong Nhân” and “Vu Lan Festival”, or “Lễ Vu Lan” in Vietnamese are mistaken given the fact that both holidays take root in Buddhism belief & fall on the Full-moon day in Lunar July with a view lớn showcasing one’s honor and appreciation towards ancestors. Even though being brought khổng lồ life by the same cause, the two events can be distinguished based on legends & common rituals.

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Ghost Festival (Source: Internet)

Native Vietnamese believe the Ghost Festival to lớn be the occasion when the God of Hell starts to open the gates of Hell, allowing wandering và hungry ghosts in the lower World to return to Human World. Accordingly, as a long-established belief, living mankind is expected lớn make a preparation which includes rice, porridge, salt, votive paper and paper clothes as an offering towards the presence of those wandering ghosts & souls in order lớn get rid of their annoyance. Basic rituals of the two festivals also obtain a strong contrast. During the Ghost Festival, local citizens would be making the ceremony right in front of their house or on the pavements.


Offering lớn the wandering souls (Source: Internet)Vu Lan Festival

Playing its part as another important holiday in Vietnam, Vu Lan is not solely made for Buddhists but greatly supported by people of all classes as an honoring ceremony dedicated to own parents. According khổng lồ Buddhism teachings, showcasing one’s appreciation towards those who have devoted own life lớn raising their children can be done in various ways.


A local ceremony (Source: Internet)

On the day, Buddhists frequently choose to set some animals at liberty, celebrate a requiem or carry out a charity activity with the aim of wishing good luck & health for parents. Vu Lan Festival is the day when attendants wear a rose on their chests, red roses are for those with their parents living whilst the trắng ones are solely used for those whose parents have passed away. Red roses remind people about respect và appreciation. Meanwhile, white roses are the witness of a harmonious life amongst children whose their parents are gone.


Red rose is put on (Source: Internet)

The origin of Vu Lan Festival goes in accordance with an old Buddhist tale. Legend has it that the devoted Buddhist Monk Mục Kiền Liên was aware of the fact that Lady Thanh Đề — his mother, was suffering from starvation and pain in the lower World after death as a consequence resulted after her living life as a cruel woman. He implored Buddha for mercy và was instructed that in order khổng lồ save the Lady’s life, Mục Kiền Liên needed to pray & give alms to lớn the poor when the Moon gets fullest in Lunar July. Accordingly, Mục Kiền Liên acted as such, rescued Lady Thanh Đề out of the Lower World. After all the suffering, his mother came lớn understand her wrongdoing and decided to lớn devote her life lớn Buddha, living as a pious woman.

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The act of putting on white and red roses on the day of Vu Lan was created by Monk ưng ý Nhất Hạnh during the 60s of the XX century. Vu Lan Festival witnesses a mass visit of local Vietnamese to Buddhist temples praying for family’s peace và prosperity.

Both of the events are celebrated on the Full-moon day of Lunar July, yet Ghost Festival is usually preferred by Northern Vietnamese while Vu Lan Festival is dominant in the other half of the country. Vu Lan Festival nowadays starts khổng lồ be held on a large scale, which lasts from the beginning of Lunar July lớn the end of the month if big pagodas.

The most sought-after Buddhist temples in Vietnam

Here is a menu of the most popular pagodas up và down the length of the country, which hold in themselves a great architectural as well as spiritual values during this special occasion:

Bái Đính Pagoda — Ninh BìnhTrấn Quốc Pagoda — HanoiHoằng Pháp Pagoda — Ho đưa ra Minh CityPhổ quang đãng Pagoda — Ho bỏ ra Minh CityVĩnh Nghiêm Pagoda — Ho đưa ra Minh City

Bái Đính Pagoda Complex (Source: Internet)

With these suggestions above, you can now have a chance to lớn combine a religious trip alongside with a sightseeing tour in one.

A round-up of important holidays in Vietnam may go on for pages. When August comes, the Ghost Festival & Vu Lan Festival are the most iconic sections of time. Our article was just breaking down the misperception between these two as well as the stories passed down for generations regarding the birth và meaning behind all. If you are a fan of history and Worldwide cultures, visiting Vietnam definitely has you saying WOW. Planning a trip in this upcoming August? do not forget khổng lồ pass through your nearest Buddhist temple và have the truest insight for yourself.

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This article was originally published here

Yennie Nguyen

I'm always fascinated khổng lồ show my beloved readers a Vietnam beyond stereotypical narratives - something that easily goes unnoticed by non-residents if you are trapped behind the lens - a Vietnam through the prism of a local.