Mother Goddesses: Vietnam's centuries-old worship ritual honored by UNESCO

By VnExpress   December 2, 2016 | 03:10 pm GMT+7
Mother Goddesses: Vietnam's centuries-old worship ritual honored by UNESCO
A medium in a Mother Goddess ritual. Photo from Vietnam’s National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies

'By combining music, singing, dancing, martial arts, cusine and fashion, the ritual has acted as a living museum.'

Traditional worshipping ritual related to Vietnamese beliefs in the Mother Goddesses has been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday.

Formed in Vietnam in the 13th century, the rituals of worshiping the Mother Goddesses have contributed to the appreciation of women and their roles in society through the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms: heaven, water, and mountains and forests, according to a description on the UNESCO website.

Across Vietnam, locals turn to the Mother Goddesses when they need help, particularly with issues such as fertility, marriage or illness.

During a ritual, there are mediums serving as a link connecting the material world with the goddess. The mediums, covered in special clothes, will reach a trance state and be imbued with the spririt of the goddess. Those seeking help will have time to pray and make offerings.

A representative from Vietnam's Department of Cultural Heritage said: “By combining music, singing, dancing, martial arts, cusine and fashion, the ritual has acted as a 'living museum,' presenting and preserving historical and cultural identities of Vietnam.”

The department said that UNESCO’s recognition to the Mother Goddesses worshipping ritual has acknowledged efforts of Vietnamese authorities and local communities in preserving cultural heritage.

From 2003 to 2016, the UNESCO has recognized 11 intangible cultural heritages of Vietnam.

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