Viet Nam Mother Goddess worship introduced in Republic of Korea
Update: May 22, 2017
An exhibition on the Vietnamese worship of Mother Goddesses of the Three Realms opened in the Republic of Korea on May 20, as part of activities in celebration of the 25-year diplomatic ties of the two countries.

The Viet Nam Women’s Museum and the Viet Nam Cultural Centre in the RoK co-organised the event with support from the Viet Nam Embassy in the RoK.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Le Thuy Trang, first secretary of the Viet Nam Embassy, said the exhibition not only introduces a unique Vietnamese worship to international friends but also brings Vietnamese expatriates closer to home.

Visitors to the exhibition also had the chance to attend a 2-hour “len dong” (going into a trance) ritual, which is the major part in practising the worship. The audience was so captivated by the performance that they joined the dances with the performers.

The exhibition also featured photos of rituals and stage costumes and props.

In an interview with the Viet Nam News Agency, Nguyen Thi Bich Van, Director of the Viet Nam Women’s Museum, said this was the first time the museum has organized an event overseas on the folk belief since it was officially recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in late 2016. 

The museum plans to held similar events in France and the UK, she noted.     

Mother Goddess worship is a traditional practice in Viet Nam with a long history, having stood the test of social changes. The belief in Mother Goddess reflects people’s desire for health, wealth and fortune. 

The Beliefs in the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms has been practiced in numerous northern mountainous provinces across the nation since the 16th century. 

The practitioners are comprised of temple guardians, ritual priests, spirit mediums, mediums’ assistants, musicians who perform the songs for the spirits, disciples and lay adherents who share the same beliefs in the spiritual power, supernatural strength and protection of the Mother Goddess spirit pantheon. All of these practitioners form groups who worship together, take part in traditional festivals and perform spirit possession rituals at temples and palaces dedicated to Mother Goddesses.