For many Vietnamese people, the place of burial and position of the deceased’s body is of utmost importance. While many loved ones are laid to rest in cemeteries these days, single graves on mountainsides, in rice paddies, or even next to houses are prominent in rural areas.
This is because many families consult a special type of fortune teller called a geomancer to determine where and how they should bury their loved ones. The geomancer gives the family the proper location for the burial, which could be in their own village or several miles away. Also important upon burial is the direction in which the body should be placed.
Many Vietnamese believe that if they do not bury their loved ones in the right place or the right direction then the spirit of the deceased will be restless and cause problems for the family. Oftentimes families view sickness or financial difficulty as a result of improper burial and will consult the geomancer again and rebury the dead.
The burial of a family member is often not a one-time process in many Vietnamese families. Because the worship of ancestors is so important, many Vietnamese people go to great lengths to preserve the bones of the dead. Three years after burial, the body is exhumed and the bones are cleaned, perfumed, and placed in a small ornate box for reburial.
Pray for Vietnamese people who live lives of fear and superstition, especially concerning the spirits of their lost loved ones. Ask that God will give them peace and freedom that come through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for God to reveal the truth about the eternal resurrection of the dead to the Vietnamese people, and for Vietnamese Christians who must decline traditional rituals to find ways to show the love of Christ to their families.
Pray that God would destroy the bondage of superstitions and idol worship and reveal HIS truth to them.
Throughout the month of May 2015, we are asking individuals, families, groups of friends, small groups, and churches to join with us and commit to pray for the peoples of Vietnam. We will be posting stories and sharing ways to pray daily through the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also download a prayer guide and other resources here.