Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – More than 4,000 people attended the opening of a mega festival themed on promoting vegetarianism and expressing gratitude to parents.
The Tết Chay Vu Lan (Vu Lan Vegetarian Festival) this year began last Saturday, a month after the Vu Lan (7th full-moon festival) celebration, an important Buddhist holiday that falls the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.
One belief that powers the festival is that prayers for parents become more powerful when it is done on a vegetarian diet. For several yeas now, Vu Lan has also marked Mother’s Day in Việt Nam.
The festival is organised by Tứ Kỳ Pagoda, the An Lạc Businesspeople Community, Gamuda Land Vietnam, and the Thái Hà Books company.
Organisers said that the non-profit event aims to promote the humanitarian value of eating vegetarian food.
“I began moving towards becoming a vegetarian 10 years ago after meeting with successful people abroad who are vegans. I learnt that many influential people in the world are vegans. I became vegetarian firstly to contribute to protecting the environment. But a vegetarian diet also made me more tolerant and my soul found greater peace,” said Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, general director of Thái Hà Books and author of several books on a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.
Hung and other vegetarian experts shared with festival participants a lot of information on healthy eating as a vegetarian.
The event included a food fair presented by 50 vegetarian restaurants and organic food stores from Hà Nội and neighbouring cities.
Organisers said a large part of the festival’s proceeds will be used to help disadvantaged children and families in the country.
Nguyễn Thanh Hòa of the Sen Vàng (Golden Lotus) charity group, managed a booth at the food fair, offering mushroom rice gruel to visitors and inviting donations from for the children she helps supports.
She said she would organise Middle Autumn festival celebrations for poor children in Chiềng Đa Village, Sơn La Province, on October 7-8. She has already collected 60 blankets to give to poor students in the village. She and her group will donate cakes, toys and noodles to 250 families in the region.
‘I hope that many other people will join hands with us to help children,” she said.
The second part of the festival, held from 7pm to 9pm, was a series of activities honouring parents. These included a ritual of children washing parents’ feet, offering flowers and lighting candles.
Lantern fest in Gamuda City
The vegetarian festival was also celebrated in Gamuda city near the Yên Sở Park in Hà Nội’s Hoàng Mai District on Saturday.
10,000 lanterns hung along a lake in Le Parc, an entertainment area in Gamuda city, attracted thousands of visitors.
A giant Hội An-style traditional lantern, with a height of 11m and a diameter of 12m, will be recognised as Việt Nam’s biggest traditional lantern by Guinness Viet Nam at a ceremony held on Wednesday.
Chow Chee Fan, general director of Gamuda Land Vietnam, said the lantern festival aims to preserve and promote traditional craft in the country.
The lantern festival will last two months.—VNS