Vietnamese in South Korea Gather for Vu Lan Festival Celebration of Vu Lan Festival by Vietnamese Community in South Korea

Parents' Day in Vietnam, also known as Wandering Soul’s Day is the second most important holiday of the year, coming in close second to the Tet holiday. During this celebration, thanks and appreciation are given to both parents and ancestors, as well as welcoming the “wandering souls”.

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The Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Centre in the Republic of Korea (RoK) recently held a grand ceremony to celebrate the Vu Lan Festival (Parents’ Day) in Incheon city, according to a report from VNA.

The event was attended by Vietnamese Ambassador to RoK Nguyen Vu Tung, Vice Chairwoman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Tran Thi Minh Nga, Mayor of Incheon city Yoo Jeong Bok, Korean officials, and Buddhist followers in the RoK.

Vietnamese Community in The RoK Celebrates Vu Lan Festival
The ceremony to mark the Vu Lan Festival in Incheon City on September 3. Photo: Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Centre in the RoK

The event was attended by Korean local government officials, Korean Buddhist sects, businesses, Vietnamese Buddhists, Korean Buddhists, and a large number of Vietnamese expatriates in the RoK.

After the ceremony of saluting the Vietnamese and Korean national flags and Buddhist songs, the organizing committee of the Vietnamese Buddhist Cultural Center in Korea chanted the Vu Lan sutra to express gratitude and pray for the Vietnamese heroes and martyrs, legendary deities, and ancestors.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Nguyen Vu Tung said that the 7th full moon festival called “Vu Lan bao hieu” (Parents’ Day) or “Xa toi vong nhan” (Wandering Soul’s Day) is even more meaningful when it is held on the occasion of Vietnam’s National Day September 2, especially in the context of the Vietnam-RoK strategic partnership relationship getting stronger.

The ambassador thanked the RoK officials, Korean religious dignitaries, and clergymen for their attention and support to Vietnamese people in the fields of economy, culture, and religion.

He affirmed that the Vietnamese community in the RoK has contributed and integrated into RoK society and considers the East Asian country their second home to participate in economic, political, and religious activities.

Vietnamese Community in The RoK Celebrates Vu Lan Festival
Photo: Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Centre in the RoK

Mayor of Incheon Yoo Jeong Bok was moved by the Vietnamese custom of drinking water to remember its source during the Vu Lan Festival and said that the Korean-Vietnamese relationship at the national and local levels has been around for more than 30 years.

He said that as an international city of RoK, Incheon is home to more than 70,000 foreigners, including about 15,000 Vietnamese people, adding that the foreigners are part of the city and have accompanied and developed together with local residents.

Witnessing the religious activities of the Vietnamese community in RoK, Vice Chairwoman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Tran Thi Minh Nga expressed her gratitude to the State, the Korean Government, and Korean Buddhism for always paying attention to and supporting Vietnamese Buddhist activities locally.

She hopes that Vietnamese Buddhists in Korea will stand side by side in life as well as in their spiritual practice, further develop and achieve more success.

Nga voiced her hope that Vietnamese Buddhists will continue to unite, accompany, and share in the common home of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association and the Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Centre in the RoK. Together with Buddhist nun Thich Nu Gioi Tanh, they are committed to obeying the laws of the host country, contributing to the development of the Korean nation, and always looking towards the homeland.

Vietnamese Community in The RoK Celebrates Vu Lan Festival
Delegates at the Vu Lan Festival in Incheon City on September 3. Photo: Vietnamese Buddhist Culture Centre in the RoK

Ly Huan, chairman of the Korean-Vietnamese Association, mentioned that in 1226, Prince Ly Long Tuong came to Korea and he is the 32nd-generation descendant of Prince Ly Long Tuong.

He said he was born and raised in Incheon and has many memories in the city. He often goes to temples and is very happy that the Vu Lan Festival is held at Heungryunsa Pagoda. He hopes that not only the country, people, and culture but also Vietnamese Buddhism will continue to grow.

The ceremony concluded with a Vietnam-Korea cultural exchange art program.

Hannah Nguyen