Vietnamese flock to pagodas for New Year

Ngoc Dung’s family from Van Chuong alley on Kham Thien street in Hanoi’s Dong Da district often goes to the pagoda on the first day of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday. While most business households visit large and well-known pagodas, Dung’s family chose one nearest their house for traffic convenience and to avoid the hustle.

“Apart from praying for happiness, prosperity and good health for family, visiting pagodas gives us a chance to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at religious places,” the 40-years-old Hanoian said.

Visiting pagodas at the beginning of Lunar New Year has become an age-old tradition of Vietnamese people. While streets in Hanoi are deserted in the first day of New Year, a stream of people goes on a pilgrimage at Tay Ho, Tran Quoc pagodas or Ngoc Son and Quan Thanh temples.

Among the religious destinations, Tay Ho pagoda attracts the largest number of visitors from both in and outside Hanoi with several thousand each day during Tet holiday.

Fruit and offering shops in the entrance leading to the pagoda are overcrowded with visitors on the occasion.

Madam Thanh, 70 who is also from Kham Thien street, said he often goes to Tay Ho pagoda with his old friend on the first day of new year.

“We can go to the pagoda anytime but the first day is a special time of a year to pray for good things for our family”, he explained.

Meanwhile, many citizens, especially students, chose to visit the Temple of Literature in the new year.

Nguyen Thu Phuong from Quan Su street in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district said she visited on the first day of Lunar New Year to pray to become a good learner.

“This year, I pray for good health for my family and wish that I will enter Teachers Training University,” Phuong said.

The first half of the first lunar month is the best time for a pilgrimage. Joining the flow of devotees in the spring’s wonderful atmosphere you may feel the harmony of the sky and the ground, she said.

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