The dog in Vietnam’s folk culture

(VOVWORLD) - There is a saying: “Feed a human for 3 years and he will forget you in 3 seconds. Feed a dog for 3 days and he will remember you forever”. The dog has always been considered a faithful animal and was mythologized by the Vietnamese. Stone dogs are worshiped everywhere in Vietnam. The Year of the Dog 2018 represents good fortune and prosperity in the New Year. 

Animal worship is one of Vietnam’s indigenous faiths. A faithful animal that protects humans and guards their houses, the dog is worshiped as a protective genie at many temples in Vietnam. The Vietnamese believe that stone dogs placed in front of pagodas and houses will drive away ghosts and devils. People in some rural villages refer to their stone dog as Mr. Prince or Mr. Stone to show their respect. Culture researcher, Professor Ngo Duc Thinh told VOV: "Worshiping dogs is part of animal cult. In many countries, the dog represents blessings. Because it is traditionally a dog’s task to guard people’s homes, stone dogs are often placed in front of houses."

An ancient temple called the Puppy Temple beside Truc Bach lake in Hanoi dates back to the period when King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Ninh Binh province to Thang Long, now Hanoi, in 1010. At Dich Vi, a village not far from downtown Hanoi, a stone dog is considered the villagers’ tutelary God.

The dog in Vietnam’s folk culture - ảnh 1

For centuries stone dog worship has been popular in Vietnam’s northern delta and among the ethnic minorities living in northwestern mountains. A stone dog stands in front of each house of the Tay ethnic people. They believe a stone dog is necessary to protect them from ghosts and devils, especially if they live in a house with bad feng shui.

Vi Van Co, a Tay man who lives in Loc Binh district, Lang Son province, said: "The tradition of worshiping stone dogs has been passed down from our ancestors. If a house has a bad location, is beside a river, or has its main door facing a big road, the homeowner is advised to place a stone dog in front of his door to drive away all the bad things." 

"Stone dogs are carved to look just like like real dogs. This sculpture item is a gift preferred by many people because it bestows great blessings on the receiver", said Tran Le Thu, a collector of stone dogs.

2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Lunar Calendar and those born under this zodiac sign are said to possess abundant energy and will be successful in whatever they do.