Vietnamese expatriates in Laos celebrate Buddhist Vu Lan festival at the Phat Tich Pagoda in Vientiane (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamese expatriates in Laos and India held grand ceremonies to mark the Buddhist Vu Lan Festival on August 25.

The Vu Lan festival falls on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. On this month’s full moon, wandering souls are believed to return to their former homes.

The festival is based on the legend that once when mediating, a Buddha’s disciple named Muc Kieu Lien saw his mother suffering hell’s tortures. Following Buddha’s advice, on the seventh full moon of the year, Lien gathered monks and devotees to pray for his mother.

Therefore, the festival is also an occasion for children to express their gratitude towards their parents (especially mothers) and help ancestors’ souls find their way back to the earth.

In Vientiane, Laos, the ceremony took place at the Phat Tich Pagoda, gathering representatives from the Vietnamese Embassy, associations of Vietnamese in Vientiane and Laos, and thousands of Vietnamese monks and expatriates.

Speaking at the event, Head of Phat Tich Pagoda Venerable Thich Minh Quang said the annual Vu Lan ceremony promotes solidarity and mutual support among Vietnamese communities in Laos.

It was estimated that approximately 100,000 Vietnamese people are residing, studying and working in Laos, most of them follow Buddhism. Many see Vietnamese pagodas in Laos as common houses not only for religious practices but also for meeting each other.

Laos is now home to 13 Vietnamese Buddhist pagodas, including three pagodas and one monastery in Vientiane.

A similar ceremony took place the same day at the Buddha Vihara Pagoda in New Delhi, India.

The ceremony is an annual activity of the Vietnamese community in India.-VNA