Thanh Minh, which could be roughly translated as Crystal Clear is a day in Lunar Calender of which the weather is nice and the sky is clear. This is the day when people visit and clean up the dearly departed to commemorate them.
The Day is originated in China nowadays Thanh Minh is one of the most important day in Vietnam traditions and cultures. If Tet and Full Moon are the occasions for families to reunite and cheer together, Thanh Minh is for the families who carry the same family name to reunite, commemorate ancestors and have a meal together.
Thanh Minh is not on a fixed date as it is decided on the change of weather so it might differ from years to years but will be in the 3rd lunar month.
In Vietnamese culture, people believe in “the other side world” and that when people pass away, they do not vanish, their souls still exist. These souls have emotions just like human so they need caring; therefore, Vietnamese people always has worship table, the corner for the passed away in their home and Thanh Minh is a special day for these souls. On the day, alive people visit the graves and clean them up as they believe the graves are homes to the passed away. After cleaning they might plant some flowers and offer sacrifices, normally food and fruits together with some alcohol. They also have common worship sentences to invite ones from the other side to come up enjoying sacrifices and bless alive people.
After that, the man who “leads” the families usually holds a minor party, mostly for men to have a good time together. The “leaders” nowadays does not really act as a leader, the term is now understood as the man who hosts the activities of the families.
Due to the busy modern life, the party for alive people might be less popular but they are still keep up on visiting graves to express their love to the passed away. Thanh Minh is really a good tradition need preserving in Vietnamese culture.
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