Taboos in funeral traditions of the Vietnamese culture

1. Abstaining with the dead who died on the street or in the market

For those who died on the street, people abstain to bring the dead back home because it will bring a lot of the yin air. This is not conducive to work and earn their living of the people in the house.

In this case, relatives have to organize a funeral at where the dead died or they have to make a shack on the field to perform the funeral. People die because of sudden death on the street by traffic accident, sickness, drowning in the river … also considered to the bad fate and their relatives must worship them at where they are killed.

Taboos in funeral traditions of the Vietnamese culture

Taboos in funeral traditions of the Vietnamese culture

2. Abstaining with the dead who drowned in the river or in the sea

With victims drowned in the river, when somebody is trying to cure the victim, people abstain to parents or children of the victim come nearby victim, people believe that if victim’s relatives present, they certainly could not save the victim. If this victim cannot be cured and died, people would organize a funeral near where the victim died, they would not bring the victim’s corpse back home because it brings bad luck to ones in the family.

3. Abstaining with the dead who hang themselves

In the case of somebody died by hanging himself or hanged by the others, if discovering he was dead, people will use a knife to cut the rope when the victim is still hanged above, they do not untie the rope off. Because, according to popular belief, just by cutting off the rope, the bad luck can be cut as well, and the victim’s families can avoid the disaster of death by hanging come following.

4. Abstaining with the case of the children die before their parents

In the case of children die before their parents, in some provinces in the north of Vietnam, people will not let parents of the dead go to the cemetery for the burial. Because it is thought that children die before their parents as adversity, causing a lot of grief for parents.

So, along the way to the cemetery, it may make parents too sad that fainted, affecting to their health and lives. This taboo can alleviate the grief and saving parent lives.

5. Abstaining with putting the dead into the coffin in bad hour and bad day

When a person dies, first of all, people have to choose the good time and day which is suitable with the age of the dead when conduct coffin ritual. Then, they choose a good day to bury the deceased. They absolutely avoid putting the dead in the coffin on the bad time and bad day to avoid the bad luck come to.

6. Abstaining with dogs, cats jump over dead bodies

In the time of remaining the dead body out of the coffin, descendants and relatives of the deceased must appoint someone look after the dead all day and night to keep dogs and cats do not jump over the dead body to avoid the dead sit up and then run follow to catch people.

7. Abstaining with using things of alive people for the deceased

When burying the dead, people abstain using clothing, furniture of the living for the dead because they believe that these things remain the breath of the living people.

If the dead carry away these things, they bury a part of the living man, it can make that alive man’s life is not complete as: being silly, dull, forgetfulness, confusion….

8. Abstaining with wearing clothes of the deceased

It is not only abstaining from wearing clothes, using utensils of the living for the dead but also abstain the living dress clothes of the dead according to folk beliefs of people in Vietnam.

9. Abstaining with answering before you realize a caller

In families which have elderly people died, from twilight, relatives have to close the door, abstaining answer when they do not recognize the caller’s voice outside the gate.

The reason for this is that according to popular belief, the old dead still remember descendants, so they come back home at night to call and take someone along if they answer.

10. Abstaining with dropping tears on the body of the dead

During funeral ritual, in order to avoid the descendants drop their tears on the corpse because they fear of later descendants will get a lot of difficult things in their life.

Thus, people directly archive funeral ritual (usually a person in family) should not cry while conducting funeral ritual.

Others though have mercy on the deceased, when they cry, they have to stand from the dead a distance to avoid tears drop on the corpse.

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