Vietnam Vu Lan Festival 2019

In Vietnam these days, people are preparing for one of the most important events of the year – Vu Lan Festival (Parents’ Day in Vietnam or Buddhist Mother’s Day in Vietnam as other names). It is such a meaningful time for people to express their filial piety to their parents and love to their family. The festival was originated from an enticing legend in the early days of Buddhism. Keep on exploring Vietnam Vu Lan Festival with us!

1. What is the origin of Vietnam Vu Lan Festival?

The origin of Vietnam Vu Lan Festival came such a long time ago and aligned with an ancient legend dated back to the earliest days of Buddhism.  

Activity in Vu Lan Festival
Activity in Vu Lan Festival – Internet photo

Legend has it that, one day when meditating, Muc Kien Lien, one of the ten Buddha’s principle disciples, saw his late mother suffering from the brutal tortures of hell due to the evil deeds she committed during her life. His mother was starving but had nothing to eat. Muc Kien Lien summoned all his spiritual powers to bring her a bowl of rice. However, the food was burnt to ash before she could bring it to her mouth.  

When returning back to the physical world, Muc Kien Lien asked Buddha for guidance and advice to help his mother. Buddha advised him to collect a gathering of monks and devotees to pray for his mother’s relief on 15th July (Lunar Calendar). Their collective prayers were so powerful that they attained the release for not only Muc Kien Lien’s mother but also for countless other souls. As that, Vu Lan Festival has another name of Wandering Soul’s Day when the gates of hell are believed to be opened to give the tormented souls a free day.  

Hence, Vietnam Vu Lan Festival now becomes the time of remembrance for lost parents and grandparents as well as a reminder to honor, to show gratitude to one’s parents and also help ancestors’ lost souls find their way back to earth.  

Vietnamese family - vietnam vu lan festival
Vietnamese family – Photo from baophapluat

2. When does Vietnam Vu Lan Festival take place?

Vu Lan is held annually on the full-moon of July (15th July) according to Lunar Calendar. This year, the festival day falls on Thursday 15th August. It means that we are just 2 days away from the event. Vietnamese start preparing for the event weeks in advance.

On the lunar 15th August next month, Vietnamese will welcomes another enticing festival of the year – Vietnam Mid-autumn Festival. Let’s learn something about it.

A great news we would like to share with you is that we are offering 15 discount for all services in Vietnam from 15th August to 15th September. Apply the discount code: VULAN219 and take your family to explore Vietnam. Welcome you soon in our country.

Discount 15% for all services in Vietnam - Code: VULAN219
Discount 15% for all services in Vietnam – Code: VULAN219

3. How locals celebrate the Buddhist Mother’s Day in Vietnam: 

One week before Vietnam Vu Lan Festival, people start preparing for the day. The celebration of Vu Lan varies throughout the country with many different activities. On this day, pagodas are full of Buddhist monks, nuns and devotees. They attend ceremonies and offer incense to the Buddha, wishing to wash away their sin and they pray for their deceased relatives and living descendants. People will wear a rose on their left chest with a red rose if their mothers are alive or a while rose if their mothers passed away.  

Praying in pagoda - vietnam vu lan festival
Praying in pagoda – Photo from VOV

Apart from praying at pagodas, Vietnamese also offer votive papers, flowers, fruits, salt, and vegetarian offerings like sticky rice cakes, boiled cassava, sweet potatoes and many other things to worship their ancestors at home. Besides, people also release animals like birds and fish.  

Explore more about the charming Vietnam with our top Things to do in Vietnam.

Offering to worship ancestors - vietnam vu lan festival
Offering to worship ancestors – Internet photo

In short, the meaning of Vietnam Vu Lan Festival is not only to commemorate the ancestors and worship for wandering souls but also to remind people of respecting what they have: their parents, their family and relatives. Westerners have Mothers’ Day to be proud of, Vietnamese treasure their seventh full moon of lunar calendar – Vu Lan as time to express filial piety to their parents, especially their gratefulness and appreciation to their mother. 

In our busy life, we may not need any reason or a specific time to show our gratitude to our parents. As every single day with our parents, our family gives us the ample chance to show our love to them. Let’s make every moment we have with our beloved family count!

happy family - vietnam vu lan festival

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