Religions and Beliefs in Vietnam


Traditional beliefs     

Vietnam is a traditional country with a strong belief that everything owns its soul and the gods have the responsibility for protecting not only these souls but also the life of everything. Due to being an agricultural country, Vietnamese people worship many gods who represent for the sun, the moon, the earth, the water places such as river and sea, the forest, the mountain, and so on.

Moreover, with 54 ethnic groups living scattered along the country who have their own traditions, lifestyle, and culture, Vietnam has a lot of traditional beliefs that feature for their groups. Many groups still maintain their original beliefs such as Thai, Hmong, Khmer, Cham, Ede, Dao, Tay, San Diu, etc.

Dead anniversaries

The practice that consider as one of the most typical features in Vietnam is dead anniversaries. This practice appeared a long time ago that no one knows exactly the date, and still be preserved nowadays. Vietnamese people believe that the dead ones will go to the heaven if they are good guys, and vice versa, they will be banished to hell if they did bad things in their life. This belief reveals the good direction that Vietnamese want to lead the later generation becoming a useful and kind person.

Worship ancestors

In almost Vietnamese families, there is an altar to show the worship to their ancestors. At the time of full moon or on the first day of the month, they will dedicate fruits, candy, cakes, flowers and paper money. On the annual dead day of their parents and grandparents, people will cook a big meal, then gather to remind about their ancestors.

Some villages located in the countryside have the temple or communal house dedicated to Village Deity who is believed to protect their hometown. The practices and activities to worship Village Deity are unique and different in each region. However, the same point is these houses or temples are built by money and effort of everyone living in the village. Besides, some villages worship national heroes who fight against enemies to protect the village and country.

Religions in Vietnam

As a large number of ethnic groups, Vietnam has recognized 37 religious organizations and account for 27% population. Vietnam consists of 6 main religions: Catholicism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Muslim, Caodaism, Hoa Hao Buddhism.

Buddhism – the most popular religion in Vietnam – appeared in this country in early years AD. This religion reached its peak during the period of Ly-Tran Dynasty. Today, Buddhism has over 11 million believers with thousands of worshiping places around the mainland. However, many Non-Buddhism people go to pagodas and temples in the important events such as New Year Eve to pray for fortune, success, and health.

Catholic entered Vietnam in 1533 by Portuguese Francis and Spanish Dominicans priests. Nowadays, it is the second biggest religion in Vietnam with 10 million believers, especially 42 Bishops living in many churches around the country.

Besides, there are four other main religions in Vietnam: Protestantism, Muslim, Caodaism, Hoa Hao Buddhism with the number of followers are 1.5 million, 80 thousand, 2.5 million, and 1.3 million.