|An altar in a medium-sized business. Altars are|
definitely status symbols - hierarchy is hugely important
in virtually every facet of Vietnamese life and culture.
One of the most unifying traditional practices in Vietnam is ancestor worship.
Virtually no Vietnamese house or business, no matter the size or socio-economic status, is without an altar to venerate the dead of their family. Regardless of faith, it is a uniting practice in the country to thank those ancestors that have come before and paved the way for the successes that you and your family have experienced (or not, in which case, more incense and fruit to bring peace to the dead, and therefore success to the living).
This concept is so utterly foreign to me that I can't help but be fascinated. What follows is my personal exploration of this very private celebration of family, continuity, and identity.
Click through for an idea of what this tradition consists of and how it forms the foundation for many, many other aspects of Vietnamese culture!