VietNamNet Bridge – Fertility worship is closely associated with Vietnamese farmers’ prayers for favorable weather, bumper crops and sufficient food.




For wet-rice farmers, yin and yang, earth and heaven, mountain and river are symbols of fertility which are harmonized in nature. Fertility beliefs reflect people’s hopes for productivity and prosperity.

According to ancient Vietnamese beliefs, sacred power is believed to reside in nature and in each person and can be transferred to animals and plants. Many rituals are practiced to honor fertility.

Dang Dinh Thuan, Vice President of the Vietnam Folk Arts Association, said “Farmers pray for human fertility so there will be more people to work in the field because farm work is hard and requires a lot of people. People pray for the fertility of nature as well”.

Believing that everything has a soul, Vietnamese people have traditionally worshiped a lot of genies, especially ones related to agriculture like heaven, earth, forest, river and mountain genies.


Folklore researcher Duong Dinh Minh Son said Vietnamese people believe that humans are protected by genies and gods.

“According to common belief, evil spirits bring sickness and diseases to humans, so, shamanism, witchcraft, sorcery and magical treasure must be used to dispel the evil spirits. Magical treasure is handed down by our ancestors to help us dispel evil spirits, sickness and diseases,” Son said.

Fertility is widely honored at spring festivals in Vietnam. For Vietnamese people, spring is the season of fertility. Some fertility rituals are stylized in folk games at spring festivals such as wrestling.

The wrestling area is usually a round space in the square yard in front of the communal house. This is not an accidental arrangement. It has an implication because, according to Vietnamese concepts, circles and squares are perfect shapes. Circles represent the sky and yang while squares represent the earth and yin. Circles and squares, yang and yin are a harmonious combination that brings good things. So, wrestling is not just a game. Wrestling also represents Vietnamese people’s prayers for favorable weather and good crops.

Folk games and performances at village festivals reflect Vietnamese people’s belief in a mythical world. Such a sincere belief enriches their spiritual lives.


Fertility worship is also reflected in folk art like Dong Ho folk paintings in Bac Ninh province. Dong Ho paintings show Vietnamese people’s wish for a prosperous life. The paintings depict a flock of chickens, a herd of pigs, or a school of fish. In any form, sacred belief or conventional paintings, fertility worship embraces the Vietnamese cultural lifestyle and represents the humane philosophy of Vietnam.