Online cultural activities during the Buddhist Vu Lan Festival this week are being held as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in HCM City.
Cover of MV Cha (Father) by pop star Đàm Vĩnh Hưng, a production about parents and children that celebrates the Buddhist Vu Lan Festival. The annual festival expresses gratitude and appreciation to ancestors and parents. — Photo courtesy of the producer
The festival is meant for Vietnamese people to express their gratitude and appreciation to their ancestors and parents.
This year, the event falls on August 22 (the 15th of the seventh lunar month).
Local temples and pagodas are offering online ceremonies to serve people.
Cemeteries have also offered vàng mã (votive papers) burning, and flower and fruit delivery services online. People can use smart devices to order services costing from VNĐ100,000 (US$4.9) to VNĐ500,000 ($23).
Đỗ Kim Thoa of Bình Thạnh District chose a package of flowers, fruits and vàng mã offerings at VNĐ300,000 ($15) offered by the Bửu Liên Pagoda where her family’s members’ ashes are stored.
Although she used the online service, she will prepare her own offerings at home.
“We cannot visit the pagoda to celebrate our ancestors during the Vu Lan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to celebrate online but it does not change the meaning of the festival,” said Thoa.
“We believe the outbreak will end, so life can return to normal. We hope our family will visit pagodas and pay tribute to our ancestors next year.”
Hotels and restaurants have been closed since July, so they cannot offer vegetarian menus to serve a greater number of customers.
However, vegetarian foods produced by companies such as Vissan, Masan, SG Food and Cầu Tre are still being offered at supermarkets. Different kinds of vegetarian food are available, including instant, semi-processed and frozen.
As per tradition, music productions on mothers and children have been released to celebrate Vu Lan, an event about motherly love.
Pop star Đàm Vĩnh Hưng has released his two MVs (music video) capturing images of parents and children.
The MV, Cha (Father), released on YouTube by the singer on August 11, has attracted more than 77,888 views.
The MV features a song of the same name composed by young musician Quách Beem.
It is part of Hưng’s new album, called Thương (Love), featuring 15 Vietnamese songs about mothers by veteran musicians, such as Trần Tiến, Anh Bằng and Nhất Huy.
“My MVs showcase many stories of parents and children. The love and sacrifices of parents to children are highlighted," said 49-year-old Hưng, who began his career after several years working as a barber.
Hưng invited well-known theatre actors and singers, such as pop star Cầm Vân and theatre director-actor Thành Lộc, to participate in the production.
On the MV Cha, he used photos capturing the artists and their parents. “The images I use in my MV, Cha, feature true love and real stories by famous artists,” said Hưng.
“I hope my production will encourage fans, particularly youngsters, to love and care for their parents.”
Hưng has released 70 albums in pop, dance and bolero. He has received several music prizes presented by TV stations, radios and prestigious organisations, including six prizes for the year’s Best Album and Best Singer in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008 at the Làn Sóng Xanh (Blue Waves) Awards by HCM City Voice of Radio.
He has held seven concerts in cities such as Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng, and has performed in concerts in the US and Europe.
Instead of going directly to the market to buy votive paper for the Ghost Festival, which falls on the full moon day of the 7th lunar month, many families are buying products online.