Tomb-sweeping tradition in Vietnam
QĐND - Thursday, February 03, 2011, 20:54 (GMT+7)
Whenever the Lunar New Year comes, normally from the 23 rd of the lunar December to the New Year eve, Vietnamese families visit their ancestors’ tombs and clean gravesites.
Everyone has his/her own job with someone uprooting weeds while the other grows flowers on ancestors’ gravesites or decorates the grave stones.
Vietnamese people believe everything, including the dead’s tombs, should be clean and bright in celebration of the traditional New Year and to have God bless you.
The tradition seems more significant for old people today in busy cities, who are afraid of young generations’ negligence of the family value in the busy modern life.
80-year-old Thu Lien in Hanoi, for example, considers tomb sweeping day not only a chance for family reunion but also for children and grandchildren to fulfil their duties and show respect to parents and the ancestors as a whole.
That’s why tomb sweeping tradition bears strong family identity with big families always fixing a concrete date and writing down in the family records for younger generations to follow, thus strengthen the family unity and value.
At the gravesites, family members often sum up the family major events during the year for their ancestors and invite the dead to “fly home” to enjoy Tet with the alive.
After the tomb sweeping day, Vietnamese families often prepare a six-dish tray of food on the last day of the lunar December to welcome ancestors back home for Tet. A send-off party will be held on the third or fourth day of the lunar January, accordingly the local or family tradition.