Craft villages in Vietnam have a rich tradition of worshiping their founders. The villagers believe that by worshiping the craft founders, they can further develop their skills and have a prosperous and happy life. They hold death anniversaries of village founders every year to honor their contributions.

Vietnam has a total of more than 5,400 craft villages, with 2,000 of them being passed down from generation to generation. Most of these villages have a tradition of worshiping their founders. While some villagers choose to set up altars at home, it is more common to build shrines, temples, or communal houses for conducting the worship rituals. Many founders are even honored as the village tutelary gods, who watch over the villages, serve as the guardian spirits, and bless the villagers.

Dr. Nguyen Vi Khai, Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Vietnam Craft Village Association, points out the close connection between craft villages and the worship of craft founders. He states, “Craft villages and the worship of craft founders are closely linked with each other, accumulating and spreading tangible and intangible cultural values.”

The custom of worshiping craft founders is not unique to Vietnam. It can also be found in countries like Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea. In Vietnam, the worship of craft village founders is associated with festivals and exchanges among guilds and troupes for mutual development.

Each craft has its own founder, although some crafts may have several founders while others have only one. Although there is no official statistics, it is estimated that Vietnam has about 130 craft village founders. Among these, the most well-known is Hung King, the founder of the Vietnamese nation.

According to researcher of history and culture Nguyen Duc To Luu, there are two great founders in Vietnam – Hung King and his wife Queen Lang Thi Tieu. Hung King is worshiped at Kim Ngan temple in Hanoi, where he is revered for teaching the people various crafts such as building houses, farming, and writing.

Worshiping craft founders is a sacred ritual practiced by villagers on special occasions such as birthdays, death days of the founders, or village festivals. Villagers believe that by conducting this worship, they gain the blessing of the founder in preserving and developing the craft. This custom is similar to the Vietnamese tradition of ancestral worship, which serves to unite the community.

Teacher and culturist Vu Ngoc Khoi explains, “The practice of worshiping craft founders is closely tied to filial piety. It is a way for descendants to express gratitude for their predecessors’ efforts in introducing a new trade to the locals. It is believed that by showing respect and gratitude, villagers can achieve prosperity in the future.”

The custom of worshiping founders in craft villages exemplifies the Vietnamese people’s sense of filial piety, as reflected in the proverb “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” or “Drinking water, remembering its source”.