Come back home on the full moon

When I was a child, on the full moon of January, my father took me to worship the ancestors. In fact, my hometown in Tho Ha ancient village has two full moon days: January and July. January is worshiping the ancestors. The month of July is worshiping the soul. In July, it is usually only once in the evening, a simple worshiping ceremony. What we miss the most is the fruit tray with bananas, guava and candies… I usually get a portion of a baguette to take home. At night, still let the head of the bed smell good and also not to be taken away by rats. On the full moon of January, the offerings are larger, there is a ceremony on the evening of the 14th and a great ceremony at noon on the full moon day. I am not very impressed with the full moon of January because it is cold, sometimes it is drizzly, we children are often advised to stay at home. If you go deliberately, you have to bite your teeth to bear the cold. My family’s ancestor worship house at that time was very small, just enough to put an incense burner, also small. The celebrant had to kneel on the porch, somewhere for our children to hide from the drizzle. When the worshiping is over, they end the party, only adults can sit inside or outside on the terrace. Children are sitting in the yard. At that time, almost every full moon day, the head of the family would come to my house, announce and donate. There were five years when my mother contributed money, in another year, I made chicken sticky rice and brought it to the ancestor worship house. My father is a reader. The celebrant is the chief of them kneeling in the middle. My father knelt beside me. His voice went up and down, reading the names of the deceased in order of chief, second, first, second… to the smallest in the last limb, sounding both tragic and heroic. Those who have not yet finished mourning will worship at a separate table and have not yet been named.

The full moon worshiping ancestors in Tho Ha ancient village for expatriates like us is not only an occasion for pilgrimage, but also an opportunity to educate life skills for the next generation. Standing in front of the Patriarch’s altar, listening to the sound of the gongs and drums in the prayers of the literary readers, they will understand that there is a clan in the family. We grow up, mature, work useful for the country, for ourselves, our family in Tho Ha ancient village is also contributing to the honor of the family. One more layer of responsibility, one more layer of glory. Every time we return to the full moon to worship the ancestors, we will have the opportunity to meet our childhood friends. There are people who haven’t seen each other in fifty or sixty years, their skin and hair are gray, but they keep their head up and down like when they were young. Every year, a few more old friends appear, it’s fun to meet again. Maybe that’s why on the full moon day of January every year in my hometown, fellow countrymen and people from all over the world come back to be more crowded and happier..

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