The Vietnamese worship of the Mother Goddesses of the Three Realms was officially recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity last December.
Considered a “living museum” preserving the historical and cultural identity of Vietnam, worship rituals of the Mother Goddesses embody the Vietnamese tradition “when drinking water, remember its source.”
“The most important effect of Mother Goddess Worship is to bolster national solidarity,", says Director Nguyen Minh Tuan, author of a 100-episode documentary on Vietnam's culture of worshiping Mother Goddesses.
"The belief is a way to honor the cultures of the ethnic groups including the Dao, Mong, and Nung and celebrate national heroism. Many of the 36 trance rituals pay tribute to national heroes like General Tran Hung Dao who helped the King drive off foreign invaders”, he added.
Since vestiges of the Hue imperial city were recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1993, Vietnam has had 22 UNESCO-recognized natural, cultural, or combined cultural and natural heritages.
“Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate our own cultural heritages until they are recognized by UNESCO. The more we integrate, the more opportunities we have to realize how diverse Vietnam’s culture is", says Special Envoy of the Vietnamese Prime Minister on UNESCO issues and Secretary General of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO Pham Sanh Chau.
"We are lucky to have the political stability to develop our economy and culture. We are proud of Vietnam, a peace- and culture-loving country with a rich culture and a developed economy”, Sanh shared.
Vietnam has vigorously responded to three international treaties on culture, taking responsibility for the cultural values of humanity by spreading its own cultural values around the globe.
“The strong partnership the UNESCO has with Vietnam is one of the best examples globally of how this partnership and how this bringing culture to the core of development can have made changes or make a difference in a country. Vietnam has made great strides forwards in terms of this campaign to many parts of the world”, said Susan Vize, acting chief of the UNESCO Office in Vietnam.
UNESCO recognition of Vietnam’s Mother Goddesses worship and other heritages as cultural heritages of humanity makes Vietnamese people more appreciative of their precious assets, more proud of them, and more active in preserving them.