Each passing year of a man’s life brings him esteem and respect from his family and community. In the past, at the age of 40, one was honored for being an old man. The history of Viet Nam recounts that during the Tran Dynasty, in the 12th and 13th centuries, a 40-year-old king would give up his throne to his son to become a Buddhism monk.
According to village customs, a man of 50 is honored as an old man. Old men stop working and are no longer village officials; however, they are still invited to festivals and to sit in the Communal House, the dinh, where they are honorably seated on red-bordered mats.
Longevity still preserves deep significance and showing respect for older people is a tradition still practiced today. Presently, when grandparents or parents reach the age of 70, 80, or 90 years old, their children and grandchildren organize longevity ceremonies, which are generally held on their birthday or in the days during the Tet Holidays.
Such celebrations are occasions for children and grandchildren to show their devotion to their parents and grandparent. Celebrations for longevity, either large or small, display the family’s joy of having a relative who has been able to lead a long life. This person is offered a red dress and other gifts and is invited to be photographed. Older people are filled with warm sentiments from their relatives and neighbors so that they will not feel lonely as they go through the weakness of the end of their lives.
Today, in almost every village or urban district, there is an Association of Longevity for the eldest, and women are equally venerated.
This article is written by lan nguyen from Vacation to Vietnam