What is Hau Dong? Meaning and Culture Hau Dong of Vietnam people.


Table of contents [Show]

For those who do not really know and understand what the concept of the dongsaeng is , they will think that these are superstitious, ridiculous "games", performing spiritual unreal things.

But in fact, those are wrong thoughts because the Hau Dong has a cultural identity with Vietnamese identity and has been preserved for many years.

If you are interested in this issue, please refer to this creed in detail in our article.

Hau dong - Vietnamese mother worshiping ritual

The ritual of worshiping the Mother of God is recognized as the 11th intangible heritage of the Vietnamese nation. In general, this Mother Goddess worship creates a harmonious whole of many unique activities, including folk festivals, pilgrimages, sacrifices or holy feasts.

What is a dong?

The Vietnamese people's belief in Mother Goddess worship is handed down and developed

Hau dong is a ritual of worshiping the Mother Goddesses of the Three Palaces, the Four Palaces, and the Holy Tran… It is believed that when the gods enter the body of the Shaman believers (the same male and female) they will be able to exorcise and cure evil. diseases and bestow blessings.

However, the dong maid (Thanh Dong) often stands at the price of the hau dong to perform the maid rite. The male bronze bar is called "he" and the female is called "she".

In addition, there were two or four assistants (two pillars or four pillars to offer) following Thanh Dong to prepare costumes, make-up, and ceremonies.

Is Hou Dong a Buddhist Ritual?

This is something that a lot of people question and doubt. To be honest, hu dong is a folk cult (mother worship), not a Buddhist ritual at all.

In the palace (the place where the dong is served), people will worship 4 gods, including Mother Thuong Thien (mother of Heaven), Mother Thuong Ngan (mother of mountains and forests), Mother Thoai (mother of rivers) and Mother Difu (mother of the earth). mother governs the land). 

Just like the Buddha Mother Man Nuong is the general ruler of this religion. Therefore, if Buddhists engage in these ritualistic activities, they will commit a serious offense against the Dharma.

Moreover, Thanh Dong absolutely does not wear the golden post-gold Dharma vestment of the Buddha, because this affects the reputation of Buddhism.

The meaning of the homage in the mother-worship creed

The rite of passage is like the key that opens the door to find the mirror to perfect yourself

Hou dong in the belief of Mother Goddess, brings a very deep meaning, imbued with Vietnamese national character. Thanh Dong is a person who is in direct contact with the gods with the idea of ​​praying to bring peace, fortune, successful work, good health for himself and the people. Moreover, this also shows the cultural and artistic values ​​that have been drawn and preserved by the people for generations.

Who can pay homage?

Usually, the servants will be young teenagers chosen by the Holy Mothers. In addition, it is also due to compulsive circumstances, family genetics or common-sense nature. When there is a "root" without presenting it to the Saint, it will often have health problems, but it is difficult to find and cure the disease. Unless, they go to the field, their health will improve and business will be more favorable.

What is the offering, order and process of a copper price?

For each region, the locality is different. Offering offerings and carrying out the process will have a special meaning. Therefore, the ritual of the dong dong will also have common sequences that we need to understand in order for the dong price to go smoothly and more effectively.


Before performing a copper price, the copper servant should prepare the most thoughtfully and fully to avoid omissions that adversely affect the ritual process. 


The shrine is the main area to worship the Mothers of the Four Palaces, each of which will be placed in a different fixed position. Mother of Heaven (Mother of Heaven) is placed in the middle, Mother of Earth (Mother of Earth) is on the right, Mother of Loi (Water) is on the left and to Mother of Thuong Ngan (Mountain, Forest). The shrine area needs to be cleaned, clean and spacious for the copper price meeting to take place smoothly.

Choose a good day, a good month

The servant must first focus on choosing an auspicious day to perform the ritual of the homage. Normally, there will be four main rituals, namely, Thuong Nguyen (January), Summer (April), Summer (July) and Year-end to give thanks to the Holy Mother. Hou dong on these days brings peace and helps to do business smoothly throughout the year.

The archery team

In order to have a more special and mysterious ceremony, the archivist team will be responsible for controlling the sound and musical instruments in accordance with the circumstances of the ceremony and the locality where the ceremony will take place. This also energizes Thanh Dong to push to the climax and Saints will be more easily absorbed into the body.  

Maid costume

The costumes of the maidservant are very diverse and rich. According to folklore, there will be 36 costumes corresponding to the 36 price dong and representing 36 different saints. All accessories usually include:

  • Covered red scarf.
  • 5 long dresses with separate colors and one white pants.
  • Incense towel.
  • Belt belt to match each dress.
  • Ivory cards, silver bracelets, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, fans and makeup.
  • Square red fabric.

However, the costumes also have the colors corresponding to each cover:

  • Heaven: red.
  • Underworld: yellow.
  • Comfort coating: white.
  • Thuong Ngan: blue.

Offerings for the homily

What is a dong ? Full offerings for the homily

Before the ceremony is performed, people will arrange a lot of offerings to offer to the Holy Mother. Each offering will have its own sacred meaning and there are two main types of offerings: ordinary offerings and Tay Thien offerings.

Common homage offerings

In the past, offerings for the dong dong were offered very simply, including sticky rice, meat, fresh fruit, betel nut, tobacco, votive paper, etc. However, with the present economic development, the offerings have become more and more popular. become more abundant. There are even industrialized products (silver cups, crystal cups) that have a high material value. 

The offerings (Painting Ceremony) of the Hau Dong are placed on the rectangular tower in the middle and covered with an embroidered scarf of the same color as the Four Palaces. There will not only be one large ceremony tray, but there will be 13 more small offering trays around.

Next to it is a comedy tray painted with the same color as the nose with embroidered phoenix bird and a stack of gold paper arranged in a diamond shape.

Offerings to the dong dong in Tay Thien

In Tay Thien, people will divide the ceremony into 2 separate trays: vegetarian and salty. The salty festival tray will have snails, shrimp, dried fish, crabs (13-15), sticky rice ... On the other hand, the painted vegetarian tray is mainly fruit including star fruit, figs, ginger, chili lime, pineapple... placed under the pedestal. Not only stopping there, the front of the altar includes all kinds of:

  • Votive.
  • A phoenix-shaped dragon boat with 12 sailing figures.
  • A pair of horses.
  • A pair of elephants with enough saddle and jaws.

After the copper price is over, these items will be burned.

The sequence of a court service

The full process of the standard euthanasia

The ceremony will take place when the offerings have been placed on the altar. Next, Thanh Dong put the necessary items and stepped on the copper mat to get flowers to rub on his face and clothes and then sprinkled around to disinfect and shake off the dust. Along with that, the archivist team set up the strings, played the music, and began to sing the synagogue.

In addition, there are also initial movements that Thanh Dong needs to do, which is to put his hands together to cover his head with a scarf. Then, bring your hands to your forehead and then step your left foot up one step, your right foot is together with your left foot, and repeat twice before kneeling.

Next, with both hands on the mat, face down, bow three times to perform the bowing ceremony. Finally, Thanh Dong got up and took three steps back to his old position. Thus, the first price has been started.

In the next prices, Thanh Dong will change his costume and continue the ritual with the archivist team. The field servant sat cross-legged and rubbed the emergency towel and covered it over his head, holding the edge of the towel neatly at his knees.

After a while, the spirit entered, Thanh Dong's head swayed and he let out a scream and pointed his left index finger to Heaven. This shows that the first high value has entered the copper servant.

Sequence of a price almost dong

What is a dong ? Some basic sequence of a price almost dong

After removing the cover, Thanh Dong is known to be at a new price and needs to follow the following 4 steps to match the price of almost Dong . Besides worshiping before serving, the servant should also pay attention to the following:

Changing clothes

The change of vestments will show the solemnity of each Holy Mother. Each saint will have a vestment suitable for his title and the color is also different to correspond to each Palace, each ethnic background… Changing the vestments also shows respect for each Holy Mother. .

Offering incense for the ceremony

Incense offering is a ritual that shows respect and is necessary for every copper price. In his left hand, the copper servant holds a bundle of pre-burned incense, wrapped in a towel impregnated with incense.

On the contrary, a stick of incense is held in the right hand and waved on the bundle of incense in the left hand. This is called a spell to ward off evil spirits.

Holy Christmas

The Christmas festival will take place when the gods enter Thanh Dong. The most obvious sign is that the servant will let go of the incense sticks he is holding, join his hands, and lean down to signal which rank the saint belongs to. 

For the Holy Mothers, it will be in the form of wearing a veil (maids) and the Mother only comes to witness and then leaves immediately. On the contrary, opening the scarf will represent the ranks of the mandarins and below. 

When the saint enters, the servant will go into a trance, hypnotize themselves to help them dance more smoothly and rhythmically that they would not be able to do normally. It is the religious spiritual excitement that only a few servants appear.

Bronze dance

Bronze dance will have different movements depending on the saint. But in general, the dances recreate the image of cheo and folk dance.

Before using the ceremonial vessels, the maid crosses the two instruments over her forehead and bows in salute. At the end of the dance, the maid crosses two ritual instruments on her forehead to show her gratitude.

Ban Loc and listen to adoration

After the dance is over, the saints often sit down and listen to the prose singing about the story of the Holy Mother descending. During this time, the saint used the offerings of the servants, such as alcohol, tobacco, betel nut water, etc., and expressed his satisfaction by rewarding the staff of the palace, and also blessed the people around the palace. Loc Thanh will include many things such as: fruit, cake, money, burning incense.

Holy ascended

Holy ascending is the final sequence of a dong dong . Saint put his hands in front of his forehead, fan covered his head, slightly trembling, at this time, the two assistants quickly covered Thanh Dong's head with a towel, began to sing the song of the holy chariot, and finished a complete bronze price.

Today's popular almost dong prices

Popular major copper prices

In the ritual, there are 36 prices in all, each representing a Saint. However, a court service will not include the full 36 prices, but usually 8-15 prices and depends on the wishes of the servant.

Asking for the Holy Mother's Court

Tam Hoa Thanh Mau can be seen popularly in temples, shrines, and palaces of the belief of Mother Tam - Four Palaces. On the altar, there will be 3 thrones of the following 3 Holy Mothers:

  • Model First Thien Tien Lieu Hanh Princess
  • Second Model Thuong Thousand Que Hoa My Nuong Princess
  • Comfortable Third Model Red Dragon Female Bow

The price of the Tran family

The Tran Dynasty does not arrange ranks according to the mandarins like in the Four Palaces, but the Tran Dynasty will focus on arranging the family. Moreover, the Tran Dynasty only offered votive offerings for the ceremony. At present, it is easy to see that the Tran Dynasty mostly worships saints such as:

  • Monsignor Tran Trieu Quoc Cong Thiet Che Nhan Vu Hung Dao Dai Vuong
  • Queen Mother Tran Trieu
  • First Prince Hung Vu Vuong
  • Second Prince Hung Hien Vuong
  • Third King Tu Hung Tri Vuong
  • Vuong Te Pho Ma Pham Ngu Lao
  • First Vuong Co Quyen Thanh Princess
  • The Second Princess The Great Emperor Princess
  • Mr. Ta Yet Kieu
  • Mr. Huu Da Tuong
  • The Door Girl
  • East Gate Girl

The price of the holy council

On the Council of Saints, there are 18 Fortune Tellers, 12 Cure Gods, but only 3 supreme ones called Muong Gods are invited to serve the community.

These three are virtuous women who brought many good things to sentient beings and the court in the past, so they were grateful and worshiped by the world. The Three Gods of Muong include:

  • The First God of the West
  • Lord Moon Lake Second
  • Lord Lam Thao III

In addition, there are other Gods such as:

  • Lord of Waterfalls
  • Lord Long Giao
  • Coffee Lord
  • Lord of the Five Directions
  • God All

Marquis of the Four Palaces Vuong Quan

Vuong Quan is the great mandarin in the Four Palaces, specializing in governing the 4 directions and are all princes, famous generals, having merits to the country. The Four Palaces of Vuong Quan will usually consist of 5 great officials, but in some localities when serving the horoscope, people invite the following 6 people:

  • The First Heavenly King
  • The Second Supervisory Crown Prince
  • The Third Crown Prince of Comfort
  • The Fourth Vuong Quan Kham Sai
  • King Quan De Pentecost Painting
  • Quan Dieu That (mostly behind the big Quan prices)

Price of most of the four palaces of Chau Ba

The Goddesses are also virtuous women who have made great contributions to the people and the country. Therefore, he was worshiped and respected by the people in the Four Palaces and was assigned by the Mother King to take care of rivers and mountains in the human world. Currently, Tu Phu Chau Ba has 12 people, including:

  • Worshiping the First Heavenly
  • Worshiping the Second Upper Thousand
  • Worshiping the Third Comfort Palace
  • Adoration of the Fourth Kham Sai
  • Adoration of Lan Suoi Lan
  • Worshiping Luc Cung Nuong
  • Adoration of That Silla
  • Praying for Bat Nan Dong Dung
  • Adoration of the Nine Provinces of Song Son
  • Adoration of Ten Dong Mo
  • Worshiping Baby Comfortably

Marquis of the Four Palaces of Mr. Hoang

The Four Palaces of Mr. Hoang are also considered as the Great Quan, who are talented in helping the people to help the country, so they are worshiped by the people. Ong Hoang goods will include the following 10 people:

  • Mr. Hoang Ca Van District
  • Mr. Hoang Doi Man
  • Mr. Hoang Bo Comfort Palace
  • Mr. Hoang Tu
  • Mr. Hoang Nam
  • Mr. Hoang Luc Thanh Ha
  • Mr. Hoang Bay Bao Ha
  • Mr. Hoang Bat Quoc (Quan Bac Quoc)
  • Mr. Hoang Chin Con Mon
  • Mr. Hoang Muoi Nghe An

Marquis of the Four Palaces of Saint Co

The Four Palaces Thanh Co is a row of fairies who follow the Holy Mothers, Muong Lords, and Adoration Mothers. The Saints are dignified girls who have contributed to the country, so they are also respected by the people and built temples.

  • The Great Lady of Heaven
  • Lady Thuong Thousand
  • Miss Bo Bong
  • Ms. Bo Tay Ho
  • Miss Tu La
  • Miss Nam Suoi Lan
  • Miss Six Six Palaces
  • Miss Seven Kim Giao
  • Miss Eight Tea Hills
  • Miss Chin Thuong Ngan
  • Miss Chin Gieng (Miss Chin Sang)
  • Miss Muoi Mo Ba
  • Dong Cuong Girl
  • Tan An Girl
  • Baby Mountain Dom
  • Little Girl Minh Luong
  • Coal Mine Girl
  • River Girl
  • Waterfall Girl
  • Temple Girl
  • Orange Sugar Couple

Marquis of the Four Palaces of Saint You

Saints are teenagers who died at a young age, mischievous, often helping merchant families as well as those who want to study.

The Holy Grail will include the following 8 people:

  • Mr. Hoang Ca Phu Giay
  • Mr. Hoang Ca Song Son
  • Mr. Hoang Doi
  • Mr. Hoang Bo
  • Mr. Hoang Tu
  • Mr. Hoang Nam
  • The Little Prince of Horizontal Hill
  • Ben Ban Temple (looks after both sides of the temple)

The price of Quan Ha Ban

The price of Quan Ha Ban (Quan Ngu Ho) will usually be suitable for those who have a large Quan to be able to serve. The ritual and process of serving Quan Ngu Ho is not easy, when Than Ho enters the body, he must do actions such as spitting fire, chewing a burning incense, breaking a plate...

In particular, Quan Ngu Ho is often served on the occasion of the Tran Dynasty party and the year-end occasions. Quan Ha Ban will include the following gods:

  • Emperor Tiger God General
  • Thanh Tiger God General
  • Red Tiger God General
  • White Tiger God General
  • Black Tiger God General
  • Green Snake General
  • General White Snake

The effect of servitude

Hau dong is not only a way of expressing religious culture, but also bringing value to society, the community, the ancestors and those attending.

When knowing clearly what the meaning of the dong dong is . We also need to have a deeper understanding of the effects that the dongsaeng brings to society, the ancestors, the participants and especially the servants. In other words, this ritual still carries many mysteries, so learning will help us have more confidence in the cultural beauty of our Vietnamese people.

For society

For some individuals in society, they believe that Mother Nature is the embodiment of Mother Nature (the mother who rules Heaven, Earth, mountains and forests). It is understood that all good things in life are given by the Mother of God.

Therefore, people see this as the teaching of Mother Nature and raise their own awareness and responsibility to protect the environment. It can be seen that this belief helps people connect and unite with each other in religion and outside society.

For copper bars

As mentioned above, the Bronze Bars are all chosen by the Holy Mother. Therefore, after going to the temple, they will feel lighter and more peaceful in their souls.

Moreover, the servant "enjoys" the blessings from the Holy Mothers and the Great Guanyin, so his health is somewhat better than that of others.

For business people who are predestined with this creed. They will be blessed with good fortune, favorable business and be shown the right path.  

For the ancestor

For the family whose member is Thanh Dong, they will be blessed by the ancestors and directed to the good things in life. The ancestors followed to serve them and pray for their children and grandchildren.

In addition, Thanh Dong will also create blessings for his ancestors and family.

For those in attendance

It can be said that serving a saint is a very sacred thing. Those who attend the ceremony will receive a lot of teachings and blessings from the Holy Mothers.

However, the Holy Mothers will also reward and punish clearly with the good and bad of mortals if they make mistakes.

The beauty of the culture and beliefs of Hau Dong needs to be passed on

After many years of eliminating misleading thoughts, the concept of what a dong is also has been better understood by many people. Moreover, the Vietnamese are proud and bring this cultural beauty to all over the world.

In today's society, there is a lot of fatigue and pressure in life. That is also the reason people come to this ritual to find peace in their souls and have a better direction. Therefore, the preservation and development of this belief is extremely necessary.

Hopefully each of us will have the opportunity to perform or participate in this ritual. As well as preserving together to avoid being lost and negative words about culture, beliefs and spirituality.