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Vietnam

Discovery of Caodaism in Vietnam

During your trip to Vietnam you will see that religion is important in the daily life of the population. In this great mosaic of religions, Caodaism is unique, original and fascinating.

What is Caodaism?

If you are travelling in the south of the country during your trip to Vietnam you will pass through the city of Tay Ninh, stop without delay, you will discover one of the most incredible religions known.

Created in the 1920's by Ngô Vân Chiêu, Caodaism is a mixture of the best of all the great and major religions of our planet. It is necessary to have a little bit of Christianism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and to finish, Islam. By mixing the best priniciples of the main religions Caodaism was born.

As for the somewhat more mystical part and a bit of a strange thing, Ngô Vân Chiêu urged followers to hold seances. Thus, the faithful worship Victor Hugo, Joan of Arc, Descartes, Pasteur, Shakespeare and Lenin with whom they have regular contact.

A Mass in the home of Caodaists

Attend a Mass

Every day at midday, if you go to the great temple of Tay Ninh, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass. It is impossible to miss this grand building, it looks like the Princess's castle in a Walt Disney animation. The interior is just as kitch with statues of Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Laozi, dragons which around the large columns and an enormous blue ball decorated with the divine eye. An ensemble of the flashiest colours possible.

To attend the Mass, it is best not to disturb the ceremony but to go up to the first floor. From above you have a perfect view to understand that this rite is highly regulated. Each has their place with a tunic of a different colour. For example, you will see that the women will be seated at the bottom on the left, the men will be on the right dressed in pure white. Musicians accompany the prayers. The dignitaries wear different colours depending upon their ideological affiliation. Red for Confucianism, blue for Taoism and yellow for Buddhism

For the rest, it is complicated to understand but attending the prayers remains absolutely fascinating.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 17 November 2015
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