Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

By Quynh Tran   January 25, 2020 | 07:16 pm GMT+7
Hundreds of Saigon locals queue up to ring a special pagoda bell as they pray for good luck and fortune on the first day of Lunar New Year.
Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

All paths to Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, HCMC are filled with people on Saturday, who aim to shed the old year’s stress in their hope for better things to come.
The pagoda, built in 1964, is among the most popular spiritual destinations in Saigon.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Anh Son, 58, who lives over 13 kilometers away, rings the bell three times annually. “The sound of the bell represents a prayer for peace,” she explained.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Local residents line up in the 33 Celsius heat awaiting their turn to give the bell a tug.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Many stick their prayers inside the bell before ringing it.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

The air is filled with the smell of burned incense as large crowds pour into the pagoda.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Thuc Anh, 25, said: “I pray for a stable career, good health and a happy family.”

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Some touch pagoda statues in the belief it would bring them positive energy.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

The pagoda gives out free packs of salt and rice as blessings. Salt is believed to expel ghosts, and rice, to provide fullness for the whole year.

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Bong, 53, release several sparrows after prayer. “This is to let go of the jealousy and enmity inside your heart so you can be free.”

Saigoneers ring-in new year’s fortune with a bell

Some wear masks to the pagoda, saying they want to be protected from the deadly coronavirus spreading from China.

 
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