Vu Lan Festival is one of the great spiritual and cultural festivals of millions of Buddhists around the world. This is a Buddhist ceremony held on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month every year. In Vietnam, Vu Lan festival is held very early and is associated with the praying ceremony.
We invite you to learn about the celebration of Vu Lan under Vietnamese feudal dynasties through Heritage Woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty is currently preserved at the National Archives Center IV.
Regarding the legend of Vu Lan, according to the book Kham Kinh Viet history, book 16, it is recorded that: “The Vu Lan festival: The Buddhist scriptures say that Muc Lien had a mother who had to live in the hungry ghost prison. Buddha told Muc Lien to make a festival on the full moon day of July, using the five fruits in the basin to make offerings to the Buddhas of the ten directions, and then Muc Lien’s mother could eat and drink. Thich Thi Thinh Thinh wrote: “Vu Lan, is Sanskrit, just like Hoa says it is to save the island”.
Vu Lan Festival Since when was it introduced to Vietnam, history books do not see clearly. It is only known that through the records of the Dai Viet History and Toan Thu, the Vu Lan festival in our country was held for the first time in the year of Mau Tuat (1118), under the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong. On the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, that year, King Ly Nhan Tong held a ceremony to pray for the Queen Mother Linh Nhan. People from all over the world also attended the ceremony in large numbers. 10 years later, in the year of Mau Than (1128), on Vu Lan festival, King Ly Than Tong also performed a ritual to pray for King Ly Nhan Tong, after that, the king rewarded the monks who chanted 220 mantras. money. And since the year of Mau Than (1128), according to custom, on the full moon day of July, the dynasties have held Vu Lan festival.
In the Nguyen Dynasty, along with the development of Buddhism, Vu Lan festival was highly valued by the Kings. In the Year of the Goat (1835), in order to prepare for the Vu Lan festival, King Minh Mang ordered the ceremony to purchase materials in advance, on the day of the Trung Nguyen (the full moon of July), ordered the monks to gather at Thien Mu pagoda to set up dan shui Luc for 21 days to transcend the souls of our military officers who died because of the country… Immediately ordered to summon monks in pagodas and districts, who were diligent in keeping the precepts, coming to the Kinh, and giving them the precepts. scythe …”. In addition, on other Vu Lan festivals, the 2nd king of the Nguyen Dynasty invited monks to come to Phung Tien shrines and temples to chant sutras for 7 days and nights to pray for the good news.
During the reign of King Thieu Tri, on the occasion of Vu Lan festival, the King ordered a solemn vegetarian harp at Dieu De Pagoda. In addition, the king also set up the universal lute to “pardon the dead”. Following the tradition of the previous kings, the later dynasties such as Tu Duc, Kien Phuc, Thanh Thai, … all held the Vu Lan ceremony to pay filial piety.
Through the records of historical sources, we can see that Vu Lan festival was held by dynasties in Vietnam with a humane meaning. Since then, Vu Lan festival is not only a holiday for Buddhists, but has become a festival of filial piety for all Vietnamese people. And another Vu Lan season is back, pray for Mom and Dad for a peaceful life!
1. File H31, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
2. Profile H60, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
3. File H21, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
4. File H22, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
5. File H23, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
6. File H24, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV;
7. File H25, Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty – National Archives Center IV.
NATIONAL HOST CENTER IV