Rooster in Vietnamese folklore

(VOVworld) – The rooster is associated with Vietnam’s historical myths. From a domestic animal, rooster became a sacrifice that Vietnamese offer to the genies during the Lunar New Year festival. The year of the rooster 2017 is believed to be promising and favorable. 

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Rooster models on Nguyen Hue walking street, Ho Chi Minh city

Archeological studies show that the rooster was a vestige of Vietnam’s agricultural civilization, which can be seen on Dong Son bronze drums. There are images of roosters in temples and pagodas devoted Mother Goddess worship. The rooster appears in Dong Ho folk paintings and in folk toys like the rooster-shaped clay whistle of the Nung ethnic group in northern Vietnam.

Long ago, the Vietnamese offered roosters to their ancestors to call for the sun to return on New Year’s Eve, believed to be the darkest night of the year. The rooster is chosen as a sacred sacrifice because the Vietnamese think it connects the world of the living and the world of genies. That’s why the biggest and strongest cocks, like the Dong Tao big-foot species, are chosen for worship rituals. Nguyen Xuan Vet, a resident of Dong Tao hamlet, Hung Yen province, said:“Dong Tao chickens are spiritually meaningful. They crow loudly to ask for sunlight on the earth. This species was considered so precious that it was offered to Kings to eat.”

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Dong Tao roosters (Photo: Dan Viet)

In the myth “Son Tinh-Thuy Tinh” about the God of the Mountain and the God of the Water, 9-spur roosters are mentioned as one of the three wedding presents demanded by the Hung King of the would-be groom of Princess My Nuong. Surprisingly, the mythical 9-spur roosters have been found recently and many people use them as sacrifices on New Year’s Eve. A poultry farm in Phu Tho province, home of myth “Son Tinh-Thuy Tinh”, has been successful in breeding this rare rooster species, which cost 3 million VND (133 USD) each. Nguyen Nhu So is the owner of the farm:“These special chickens are reserved for special days: death anniversaries, Lunar New Year, and weddings. It would be great if a future groom offered his fianceé’s family a 9-spur rooster.”

The rooster image is popular among Vietnam’s ethnic groups. The Tay and the Nung believe that if a family’s cocks crow first in the New Year, that family will be blessed with good luck and happiness. The most important thing a man should bring to his fianceé’s house for the wedding proposal is a pair of castrated cocks. Castrated cocks should be part of big events like a village founding, a house warming, or a harvest.  

For many Vietnamese families, the rooster is a sacred animal believed to bring wealth, health, and success to the owners.