Vu Lan Ceremony which is a day for people to remember the nurturing, teaching of their parent those who died or still alive. It is a big day of Vietnam in particularly and East Asia in general.

Vu Lan Ceremony is also known as Gratitude Ceremony, it is one of the main days of Buddhism. This ceremony coincides with Tet Trung Nguyen which is a Tet of China and it also coincides with Date of death far of East Asia in July 15th of Lunar Calendar. On the date of death far, every one in Hell has the change to clear all their sin, to reborn in a good world, a better life. According to folk belief, the day is opening hell day for spirits so there is Worship Spirit Ceremony in the afternoon for spirits those who have no house, no relatives in real world.

Vu Lan Ceremony, Vietnamese day for gratitude for parent
The good deeds of Father are as great as Mount Thai Son
The virtue of Mother is as bountiful as spring water gushing from its source.

Beginning from the legend about Bodhisattva Maudgalyayana saved his mother from preta life. He practiced many cabbalas, his mother had died, he wanted to see his mother so he used his cabbala to find her. When he saw his mother was abuse because she had done many bad things in life and there was nothing for her to eat, he brought rice to the Hell for her. However, because she didn’t eat many days, she used her hands to cover her rice in order to no other spirits came to take it. So, when she ate, the food turned into fire. Saw that, Maudgalyayana came back to get some help from Lord Buddha, Lord Buddha said: ” No matter how powerful you are, you can’t save her. There is only way, it is synergies of monks in the ten directions. July 15th is the good day to invite them, prepare offering to worship. Did as Lord Buddha said, he saved his mother. Lord Buddha also said: If anyone wants to remember the nurturing, teaching of parent, do as this way”. From that, Vu Lan Ceremony was appeared.

Vu Lan Ceremony, vu lan festival in lunar July, Vietnamese day for gratitude for parent

In some countries in East Asia, this day often is held on July 15th or August 15 th in Lunar Calendar to express gratitude to parent, grandparent and to help spirits that have no house. Then, they hang their wish on bamboo and they hope it will be come true. In Vietnam, worshiping always happens in pagoda at first, then at home. This is often done in daylight, avoid doing at night. On this day, every family offers two trays: one for ancestor, another for every spirits on sidewalk(if wide) or yard in the morning, noon or afternoon. On the tray for ancestor, they will present dishes, votive paper and home tools made from paper for their ancestor to have a better life. Also, on the tray for the spirits, including: clothes with many colors, candy, wine, etc. In pagoda, when they worshiped for the spirits, they call kids to take offerings.

East Asian people stresses filial piety so this day is considered very much. On Vu Lan day, Vietnamese people have a convention: if someone’s parent still alive, he or she will be set a pink flower on shirt. If parent died, they will be set a white flower. This is done in pagoda, you can come to some pagodas to admire in many destinations in Vietnam such as:

  • Hanoi: Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Su Pagoda, Lang Pagoda, Huong Pagoda, Tay
  • Phuong Pagoda, Thay Pagoda, Tram Gian Pagoda,etc.
  • Ho Chi Minh: Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Giac Lam Pagoda, An Quang Pagoda.
  • Hue: Thien Mu Pagoda, Quoc An Pagoda, Tu Dam pagoda, Bao Quoc Pagoda.
  • Ninh Bình: Bai Dinh Pagoda, Bich Dong Pagoda, Non Nuoc Pagoda, Nhat Tru Pagoda.
  • Nha Trang: Long Son Pagoda.
  • Quang Nam: Dong Phuoc Pagoda.
  • Da Lat: Truc Lam Buddhist Monastery, Linh Phuoc Pagoda.
    Here are some tips for you when you want to visit pagoda.

Anyway, Vu Lan is a symbolic day for gratitude for parent, if you respect your parent, every day is Vu Lan day. This day makes us remember things that parent have done for us, they are the people who love you the most in the world. If you accidentally hurt them, forget it and make them happy, love them as much as you can. It is the best way to atone. Whoever made a mistake, at least once. The important thing doesn’t lie in, it is you fix or not.