The Vietnamese Buddhist community welcomed the gods into their presence today (September 5) at pagodas and temples throughout Vietnam in celebrations to honour parents, both living and those who have followed the sun.
The Le Vu Lan festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar and can be considered the most prominent celebration within Buddhism in the Southeast Asian country.
It is a time of remembrance for lost parents and grandparents, as well as a reminder to honour one’s parents and live righteously in response to all that parents do for their children.
Many guests wore or carried a flower— a white flower symbolizing a parent who has died, a red one symbolizing a parent still living.
Pictured are children washing their parents’ feet at the Tang Phuc Pagoda in Hanoi, a ritual expressing their gratitude for their mothers and fathers on the special day.
The Le Vu Lan festival is like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the US says one monk. We are praying for parents still alive and for great, great grandparents that have passed away.
In the US when parents are deceased people say they go to heaven, says the monk, but in Buddhism we pray to make sure they are up there — where the sun sets, this is the west.
So, during the festival participants lift their hands and lotus lanterns westward to illustrate the journey loved-ones take with the sun when they die.
Pictured are participants in the Vu Lan festival at the Ninh Tao Pagoda in Ha Nam Province holding lotus lanterns and praying for the parents.