Feasting with the Living and the Dead: Eating in Ancestor Worship Rituals in Hội An

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Ancestor worship ceremonies [đám giỗ] are the most commonly celebrated rituals in the central Vietnamese town of Hội An. As every person has two parents and four grandparents (in some cases even more as, prior to 1975, polygamy was legal and I have met several such polygamous families in town), most Hoianese conduct several such rituals annually. Obviously, many Hoianese have living parents and grandparents, but then they would participate in their elders’ ceremonies. And since extended-family members, friends and neighbours are routinely invited to join ancestor worship rituals, most people participate in well over a dozen such events yearly. Moreover, as most other Hoianese rituals and festivals include some measure of ancestor worship, it would be safe to claim that worship of ancestors is the most commonly practised ritual in Hội An. Thus, one of my informants clearly stated: “…they say that we are Buddhists or Taoists but for me, I think that we are ancestor worshippers. This is what we mostly do….”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModernity and Re-enchantment
Subtitle of host publicationReligion in Post-revolutionary Vietnam
Editors Taylor Philip
PublisherISEAS Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789812304568
ISBN (Print)9789812304407
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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