The worship of Mother Goddess in Central Vietnam


For a long time, the religious researchers in Vietnam have been interested in female element in the religious consciousness of the nation. It has been recognized as the characteristic of beliefs and religious life of Vietnamese people. Most recently, the book of Mother Goddess religion in Viet Nam (2 Volumes, Culture and Information Publishers, 1996 - 1997) edited by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh was reprinted  many times  It completely systematizes many aspects of this belief.

From many aspects, especially philosophical problems, the authors of the book tried to point out clearly notion couples Yin - Yang in some countries, as well as in Vietnam, because of the role of the mother in west – rice civilization. Vietnamese people are deeply attached to their country (fatherland), the mother ... Since then, the conceptions of nation, ethnic groups came into the world.  The image of Mother Au Co who brought forth racing, farming, weaving ... The concept of Me “mother” that bears native culture implies other mothers such as mother of heaven, mother of earth, mother of water, mother of mountain and mother of natural elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth ... who can create  wind, rain, thunder and lightning.

The Vietnamese people made contact with thought and religion in the first years of CE. Many of the Taoist goddesses were Vietnamized to become Vietnamese goddesses as Lieu Hanh , Tien Dung ...
Buddhism and the Bodhisattva symbolize compassion, Avalokitesvara was male.  In Confucian culture as well as in Vietnam he became Guanyin or Avalokitesvara. It can be said that the  worship of Mother Goddesses will exist for a long time in the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people. Because it not only relates to the filial piety of the Vietnamese  people but also preserves human morality. On religious aspects, this phenomenon is very noticeable. In any temple, the place of worship of Mother Goddesses seems to be more attractive than the place of worship of Buddha.
Catholicism has been presented in Vietnam nearly 500 years.  Vietnamese people have a tradition to worship Mother Goddess. According to god’s teachings the  worship of Mary is similar to  worship Mother. So Vietnamese Catholics venerate Mary very much.
The book “worship of mother goddesses in central Viet Nam” is writtenby the authors and Mr. Nguyen Huu Thong as editor. It continues and supplements documents to previous works. With the amount of materials and documents which are collected in investigation, the authors of this book have provided for the readers many attractive problems, they can help readers to understand Mother Goddess religion more and more.
Authors not only affirm and reaffirm (further analysis) that the worship of  Mother Goddesses is indigenous beliefs but also describe process of Mother Goddess worship: from the worship of  Mother Goddess  to the worship of deities in the Four Palace. The authors especially dealt with the goddesses in Central, for example goddess Thien Y A Na. She is similar to the "Mother" in the North – she was recognized the symbol in the struggle against Confucian severity “male chauvinism”. However the Cham community in Central region has also a Mother Goddess as Thien Y A Na. Her image is like Ba Chua Xu (Sam Mountain, Chau Doc, South Vietnam.) The authors also mention the problem “Chau Van - Van Chau” (the traditional folk art in the North) and len dong (going into a trance). Although problems are familiar, the authors have exploited them in many ways and they are associated with Central region. The book is published by Thuan Hoa publishing house.

Thanh Long