Vietnam is a religious country. The hero of the nation, as tutelary genius is honored in the Den. The elder who in historical times imported a craft technique and thus prosperity to the artisans of the village, has its altar in the Dinh. Each house is provided with a domestic altar devoted to the worship of family ancestors. Confucius for knowledge, the basis of the social and political order, has its temples, the Van Mieu or Van Chi. The Chua or pagoda is dedicated to Buddha and especially his boddhisatva Quan An.
A cement unites the Kinhs from North to South, the Cult of the Ancestors which is more a “way of life” than a religion. This is by far the most important religious practice. It is an everyday worry in the home primarily for the head of the family, father or eldest son. It consists in satisfying the needs of the manes of the deceased by affection and filial respect. He is also cared for not to be disturbed by the dissatisfaction of a deceased, forgotten or neglected, who by his death has acquired supernatural power.
It is in the Red River Delta that Buddhism has its most important traditional places of pilgrimage, such as the Pagoda of the Perfumed Footprint. Diffused since the seventh century, presumably by Chinese traders, the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) here privileges Avalokiteçvara under the name of Quan An, Boddhisatva with feminine features, which may well have recovered in the religion of the peasants the place of a goddess of Pre-existing fertility.
Each village has its communal temple, the Dinh, in which is practiced the cult to the local protective genius. The latter may have been a great soldier who has defended the territory as a member of the community who, through his knowledge, experience, or origins brought wealth to the community, the forge, or the art of ceramics, A source of its reputation and wealth.
Alexander of Rhodes who landed at Fai Foo at the end of the 16th century and who is conceived for his invention of the Vietnamese Romanesque alphabet is one of the many missionaries of the Catholic Church who convert the populations. Until the nineteenth century many were the martyrs. Today, about 10% of the population is Catholic. This makes Vietnam the second Catholic country in Asia after the Philippines.
The Jade Emperor of the Taoist cult or Tien Hau, the protector of the Chinese sailors refugees of Fu Kien have places of worship especially baroque. There, priests to the practices of magicians consult the spirits to interpret the oracles. (Saigon, Hoi An, Da Nang, Mekong Delta or Hanoi), they are also found almost everywhere, and the influence of this religion has been encrusted in the Other cults, notably by the aesthetic style.
All the populations of Vietnam have kept a background of animism. Every effort of man is directed in such a way as not to displease the incontestable masters of minds, to reconcile them by prayers, sacrifices, or ceremonies. Ineffective geniuses can even be punished in hectic sessions.
Animism is always practiced by the mountain populations during ceremonies or sacrifices where one begs the clemency of the natural elements or even the fertility to the Genius of Paddy.
Vietnam is also the country of sects, especially in the South. Renovators of Buddhism like the Hoa Hao, syncretic as the Cao Dai gathering all mythical personage to erect it in a protective divinity with which they converse by spiritism, or even worshipers of the Coconut.
In the provinces of the Mekong Delta, Khmer Krom populations still practice Theravada Buddhism, such as in neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Burma.
One can also see all along the coasts from the province of Thanh Hoa to the island of Phu Quoc, temples devoted to whales.
The fishermen will tell you that the hurricanes push the Venerable Whales dead to the shores so that the men will give them a funeral worthy of them. In fact discovering a dead whale, securing it a funeral brings wealth to the community. In the days of kings, at the news of such an event, the court sent someone to present sufficient offerings to be able to make a funeral for him of the Great King of the South Sea.
The boats of the Vietnam Center are adorned with whale eyes, a sacred animal, the object of a pre-viet cult practiced by the fishing communities.
These marine mammals frequent the coasts of the country, they even come, testimonies take refuge in the bays and estuaries, sheltered from the typhoons during the bad season, which is also the one that abounds plankton and krill, food of the whales.