If you learn Vietnamese or travel to Vietnam, you can see there are a lot of festivals here. Vu Lan Festival is one of the biggest Buddhist festivals in Vietnam and it takes place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.
Vu Lan, aka “ Xá tội vong nhân” in Vietnamese is the day for the death’s souls. Being the second largest annual festival of Vietnam, Vu Lan is celebrated widely in the country.
In the thought of Vietnamese, on that day, gate of the hell opens so that souls of the dead will come back to their home and gather with their families. This is an occasion for people to express love to their ancestor and their parents. Vu Lan can be considered as Mother’s day in Vietnam.
On this day, householders cook a big meal to set on ancestral altar. They also burn incense to invite their ancestor to come home.
Vegetarian food is the most popular on that day. Pagoda is crowded during this day and monks talk about the responsibilities of children to their parents. People often have a rose in front of their chest. Rose is red if their parents are alive and it is white if their parents are dead.
At night, lanterns will be released on the river and bring people’s wishes with them. If you study Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City or somewhere else in Vietnam, you should go to any pagoda on this day to understand more about our culture.