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Vietnamese Mother’s day

Vu Lan – Ullambana or Mother’s day

Vu Lan in Vietnamese is one of the main Buddhism festivals to show your gratitude to your mother. It is on 15th day of 7th month in Lunar Calendar.

Legend:

The Buddhist origins of the festival can be traced back to a story that originally came from India, but later took on culturally Chinese overtones. In the Ullambana Sutra, there is a descriptive account of a Buddhist monk named Maudgalyāyana, originally a brahmin youth who later ordained, and later becoming one of the Buddha’s chief disciples. Mahāmaudgalyāyana was also known for having clairvoyant powers, an uncommon trait amongst monks.

After he attained archonship, he began to think deeply of his parents, and wondered what happened to them. He used his clairvoyance abilities to see where they were reborn and found his father in the heavenly realms i.e. the realm of the gods. However, his mother had been reborn in a lower realm, known as the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. His mother took on the form of a hungry ghost (preta) – so called because it could not eat due to its highly thin & fragile throat in which no food could pass through, yet it was always hungry and it had a fat belly. His mother had been greedy with the money he’d left to her. He had instructed her to kindly host any Buddhist monks that ever came her way, but instead she withheld her kindness and her money. It was for this reason she was reborn in the realm of hungry ghosts.

Maudgalyāyana eased his mother’s suffering by receiving the instructions from feeding pretas and from the Buddha. The Buddha instructed Maudgalyāyana to place pieces of food on a clean plate, reciting a mantra seven times to bless the food, snap his fingers to call out to the deceased and finally tip the food onto clean ground. By doing so, the preta’s hunger would be relieved. Through these merits, his mother was able to be reborn. Buddha also tells people that they can perform the same kindness to show gratitude to their mothers.

Main activities:

For Buddhism followers, they will have a shower (so they will be clean for the ceremony) then go to a Pagoda to perform a spiritual ceremony. They worship their mother (if she has passed away) or ask the gods to give good health and happiness to their mother if she is still living. People, whose mothers have already died, will hang a white rose on their shirt and have a meal in pagoda (vegetarian) or at home honoring their deceased mother.

Cheers

 

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