Spring longevity celebrations honor the elderly

(VOVWORLD) - The Vietnamese have a custom of holding longevity ceremonies to celebrate the elderly and show their children’s respect. Longevity celebrations in Vietnam are held in the early Spring soon after the Lunar New Year rather than on birthdays.

Spring longevity celebrations honor the elderly  - ảnh 1A longevity celebration held by the People’s Committee of Co Phuc district in Yen bai province, January 12, 2023. (Photo: baoyenbai.com.vn)

In the early morning, Thi Nguyen hamlet in Hanoi’s outlying district of Thanh Oai is bustling with music and preparations for a longevity ceremony at the communal house.

In the families where elders will be honored, the atmosphere is especially exciting. Children and grandchildren who live and work far away have returned home. Each person has one task to prepare for the celebration. Everyone is dressed up.

At 7:30, ceremonial musicians conduct the old people to the communal house. At 8:30, the longevity ceremony begins, involving all the village elders and their children.

After the celebration organized by the communal administration, a similar party is held at home. It’s full of the best wishes and laughter of family members.

Nguyen Thi Phuong of Hanoi was moved to say, “This celebration reminds us that our parents are old and we need to take good care of them. I hope my parents live long and stay healthy with their children and grandchildren.”

According to popular belief, old people and families with elderly are considered blessed, and children and grandchildren are happy and proud to see their parents and grandparents live far into old age. For the elderly, their children’s longevity wishes are a priceless gift.

In the past, the longevity celebration was for people over 60. Today, because of improved health care, the celebration is for people over 70.

In recent years, social organizations like the Association of the Elderly and local governments have also held ceremonies to honor the elderly.

Nguyen Van De, Chairman of Cao Duong commune Fatherland Front Committee, said, “The longevity celebration is quite simple and economical. A small offering is prepared for the commune’s tutelary god. It is eventually shared out to the elderly. A party is held after the ceremony. This is the culture of Cao Duong commune.”

People's teacher Nguyen Nghia Dan of the Vietnam Folk Arts Association said the tradition of “Drinking water, remember its source” is a central tenet of Vietnamese culture.

“The celebration of longevity is a custom to honor individuals who reach 70, which is repeated when they reach their 80-, 90- and 100-year milestones. The honorees receive red clothing and other gifts. That is the Vietnamese tradition. For the occasion, children and grandchildren return home if they possibly can,” said Dan.