Giant whale's funeral draws hundreds in central Vietnam

By Thach Thao   May 17, 2017 | 12:00 am PT
Giant whale's funeral draws hundreds in central Vietnam
Locals in Quang Ngai hold a funeral for the whale. Photo by VnExpress/Thach Thao
As sacred animals, whales and sunfish are often given proper burials by local fishermen.

Hundreds of locals in the central province of Quang Ngai gathered at a funeral on Tuesday held for a giant whale that was found floating injured off the coast.

The ceremony for the 700-kilogram, four-meter (13 feet) whale was held in Binh Son District. People said they had tried to return the stricken whale to the sea but the giant mammal had grown weaker and died.

According to local customs, three years after the burial, a shrine for the whale will be erected in a temple for worshippers to pay tribute to the giant ocean beast.

In April, residents in Binh Son District also held a funeral for a 400kg sunfish that died in waters off the Spratly Islands in the East Sea (internationally known as South China Sea).

Whales and ocean sunfish are considered sacred animal by Vietnamese fishermen. It is a common belief among fishermen that, by giving dead whales proper burials, sailors will be blessed with luck, good weather, bountiful catches and protection while at sea.

On Monday residents in the south-central province of Binh Thuan also held a funeral for a dead whale that weighed over 10 tons, the biggest seen in a decade.

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