The Culture

Ancestor Worship - Architecture - Arts Music Traditional - Cao Daism - Lifestyle - Literature - Media Cinema - Government & Economy - Lacquerware ceramics - Painting Sculpture Population - Religion - Sport - The National Psyche - Theatre Puppetry - The People Of Vietnam - Women In Vietnam

Cao Daism

Cao Daism is a Vietnamese sect that seeks to create the ideal religion by fusing the secular and religious philosophies of both East and West. It was founded in the early 1920s based on messages revealed in seances to Ngo Minh Chieu the group's founder. At present there are about two million followers of Cao Daism in Vietnam. The sect's colourful headquarters is in Tay Ninh, 96km northwest of HCMC.
The Vietnamese lunar calendar closely resembles that of the Chinese. Year one of the Vietnamese lunar clendar corresponds to 2637 BC and each lunar month has 29 or 30 days, resulting in years with 355 days. Approximately every third year is a leap year; an extra month is added between the third and fourth months to keep the lunar year in time with the solar year. If this was not done, the seasons would shift around the lunar year. playing havoc with all elements of life linked to the agricultural seasons. To check the Gregorian (solar) date corresponding to a lunar date, pick up any Vietnamese or Chinese calendar The Vietnamese have 12 zodiacal animals, each of which represents one year in a 12-year cycle. If you want to know your sign in the Vietnamese zodiac, look up your year of birth in the following chart. Don't forget that the Vietnamese New Year falls in late January or mid February. If your birthday is in the first half of January it will be included in the zodiac year before the calendar year of your birth.
Rat (tý): generous, social, insecure, idle
1924..... 1936..... 1948..... 1960..... 1972..... 1984..... 1996..... 2008
Buffalo (sưu): stubborn, conservative, patient
1925..... 1937..... 1949..... 1961..... 1973..... 1985..... 1997..... 2009
Tiger (dan): creative, brave, overbearing
1926..... 1938..... 1950..... 1962..... 1974..... 1986..... 1998..... 1010
Cat (mao): timid, affectionate, amicable
1927..... 1939..... 1951..... 1963..... 1975..... 1987..... 1999..... 2011
Dragon (thin): egotistical , strong, intelligent
1928..... 1940..... 1952..... 1964..... 1976..... 1988..... 2000..... 2012
Snake (ty): luxury seeking, secretive , friendly
1929..... 1941..... 1953..... 1965..... 1977..... 1989..... 2001..... 2013
Horse (ngo): emotional, clever, quick thinker
1930..... 1942..... 1954..... 1966..... 1978..... 1990..... 2002..... 2014
Goat (mui): charming, good with money, indecisive
1931..... 1943..... 1955..... 1967..... 1979..... 1991..... 2003..... 2015
Monkey (than): confident, humorous, fickle
1932..... 1944..... 1956..... 1968..... 1980..... 1992..... 2004..... 2016
Rooster (dau): diligent, imaginative, needs attention
1933..... 1945..... 1957..... 1969..... 1981..... 1993..... 2005..... 2017
Dog (tuat): humble, responsible, patient
1934..... 1946..... 1958..... 1970..... 1982..... 1994..... 2006..... 2018
Pig (hoi): materialistic, loyal, honest
1935..... 1947..... 1959..... 1971..... 1983..... 1995..... 2007..... 2019

Hoa Hao Buddhism: The Hoa Hao Buddhist sect (Phat Giao Hoa Hao) was founded in the Me kong Delta in 1939 by Huynh Phu So. After he was miraculously cured of an illness, So began preaching a reformed Buddhism based on the common people and embodied in personal faith rather than elaborate rituals. His Buddhist philosophies involve simplicity in worship and no intermediaries between humans and the Supreme Being, Hoa Hao Buddhists are thought to number approximately 1.5 million.
Christianity: Catholicism was introduced in the 16th century by missionaries. Today, Vietnam has the highest percentage of Catholics (8% to 10% of the population) in Asia outside the Philippines. Under the communist government Catholics faced severe restrictions on their religious activities. As in the USSR, churches were viewed as a capitalist institution and a rival centre of power that could subvert the government. Since 1990, the government has taken a more liberal line and Catholicism is making a comeback . Protestantism was introduced to Vietnam in 1911 and most of the 200,000 today are Montagnards living in the central highlands. Protestants were doubly unfortunate in that they were persecuted first by the pro-Catholic regime of Diem and later by the communists.
Islam: Muslims, most ly ethnic-Chams, make up about 0.5% of the population. The Chams consider themselves Muslims, but in practice they follow a localised adaptation of Islamic theology and law. Though Muslims usually pray five times a day, the Chams pray only on Fridays and celebrate Ramadan (a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting) for only three days. In addition, their Islam-based religious rituals co-exist with animism and the worship of Hindu deities. Circumcision is symbolically performed on boys at age 15, when a religious leader makes the gestures of circumcision with a wooden knife.
Hinduism: Champa was profoundly influenced by Hinduism and many of the Cham towers, built as Hindu sanctuaries, contain lingas that are still worshipped by ethnic Vietnamese and ethnic-Chinese alike. After the fall of Champa in the 15th century, most Chams who remained in Vietnam became Muslims (Arab traders brought Islam to Indonesia and Malaysia; these merchants then brought it to Champa) but continued to practise various Hindu rituals and customs. Hundreds of thousands more migrated southwest to Cambodia, where they make up an important minority today.