Prepare to get enchanted by this amazing Vietnamese mythology. Their tales bring you to the roots of their culture, helping you understand their practices deeper. Are you ready to venture through these interesting stories? Read further to learn more!
Vietnamese mythology encompasses legends and tales explaining the origins of natural features, landmarks, and cultural practices. These stories often carry moral lessons and reflect the values and traditions of Vietnamese culture.
Additionally, it reflects the deep spiritual connection of the Vietnamese people with their environment, their reverence for ancestors, and their beliefs in supernatural forces that influence their daily lives. It continues to play a significant role in shaping cultural practices, festivals, and storytelling traditions in Vietnam. So, embark on the enchanting odyssey that awaits, and ready yourselves for this wondrous escapade into realms of mythical creatures in Vietnamese myths!
Must-Read Vietnamese Mythology Today
The myths of Vietnam reflect their past on how they came to be in the modern time. Upon taking a deeper dive into these stories, you’ll realize that they’re more than just strange tales for entertainment. They’re the canopies that built and strengthened the Vietnamese culture.
1. The Vietnamese Creation Myth
Unity binds a country, and that’s something that most places yearn to have. In this Vietnamese mythology, you’ll learn how their people understood unity and shared origins in their community. The story starts with Lac Long Quan, a descendant of the waters, and Au Co, the successor of the mountain fairies. These two mythical creatures fell in love and had a hundred eggs together. Despite their deep affection for each other, they longed to return to their respective places— the highlands and water.
They eventually separated, bringing 50 of their children to the sea and the other half to the mountains. Despite the separation, they lived a fruitful life and learned various skills. People believed that these children were their ancestors, which is why they called themselves the “Children of the Dragon and the Fairy.”
2. The Legend Of The Mountain God & Water God
One of the most interesting myths ever told in Vietnam is this tale. There was once a man who wanted to have his daughter married to someone with great power. We’re not speaking of wealth, but rather literal power like one’s capability to move mountains and cause roaring waves. Two contenders battled for the young lass’ hand, Sơn Tinh and Thủy Tinh.
Thuy Tinh eventually lost against Son Tinh, but he couldn’t accept that, which led him to unleash powerful storms and destructive floods. The latter repelled him as he formed mountains to protect the ancient Vietnamese people. As you may notice, it’s one of the many Vietnamese myths that shows the country’s resilience towards calamities.
3. The Betrayal of An Dương Vương
There was once a king who protected the land of Vietnam. He had a golden claw given by the turtle god when he once called for help from the gods to protect them from evil spirits. With the claw in hand, he was invincible. It made his crossbow powerful and allowed him to protect his kingdom. However, one day the Chinese warlord Triệu Đa’s son, Trọng Thủy, came to the palace to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. In thoughts of making peace with each other, Thục Phán An Dương Vương didn’t hesitate.
However, Trọng Thủy betrayed the king upon learning the power of his weapon. He replaced it and told his wife, Mỵ Châu, about the plan. An Dương Vương eventually learned about the betrayal as his weapon didn’t work when he tried to kill the invaders. He called for help once again, and the golden turtle appeared once more and told him about his daughter’s betrayal and told instructed him to kill his daughter, which he obliged.
Trọng Thủy followed the trail of goose feathers his wife left, only to find her headless body on the shore. He was devastated, so he committed suicide. It’s a gruesome and sad story, but this tells a lot about betrayal, power, and faith.
4. The Three Kitchen Gods
The Three Kitchen Gods, Táo Quân, are significant in Vietnamese folklore and traditions. They dwell in the kitchens of households and oversee the family’s well-being. Each year, on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month, the Kitchen Gods travel to heaven to report the family’s activities to the Jade Emperor.
To ensure a positive report, Vietnamese families clean their homes, offer prayers, and make symbolic offerings. They burn paper effigies or bamboo leaf boats to represent the Kitchen Gods’ journey. On the twelfth lunar month’s 30th day, families welcome back the Kitchen Gods with a feast and offerings, believing their presence brings luck and prosperity. This tradition serves as a reminder for individuals to reflect on their actions as the Kitchen Gods observe and report to higher realms.
5. The Legend Of The Hoan Kiem Lake
The Legend of Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular tale in Vietnamese mythology that explains the origin of the lake’s name and its cultural significance. The story revolves around a magical sword and a legendary turtle.
During the 15th century, Vietnam was under Chinese occupation. General Le Loi, a Vietnamese hero, received a magical sword from a golden turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake. With the sword’s power, Le Loi led the Vietnamese in a successful resistance against the Chinese, gaining independence. After the victory, the turtle requested the return of the sword, and Le Loi complied.
The lake was named Hoan Kiem, meaning “Lake of the Returned Sword,” to honor this event. Today, Hoan Kiem Lake holds cultural and historical significance, representing bravery, resilience, and national unity in Vietnam. The legend is cherished and passed down through generations.
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Vietnamese history runs deep in the popular myths of the country. It’s generally depicted as the basis of their values as moral lessons continue to reach the hearts of their people. Do you want to learn more about the Vietnamese language and culture? Get the Ling app today to unlock your potential to master different languages worldwide!
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