Vietnam Mythology: Culture, Legends, Places +10 Stories

We show you today all the details about the Vietnam Mythology. Learn about its most popular legends and mythical places to visit.

vietnam mythology

Vietnam Mythology

As we will see in Vietnam, there is a rich mix of cultures, religions and mythologies that have influenced its history and development over the years. Vietnam’s culture is diverse and marked by a mixture of local traditions, foreign influences and practices rooted in the country’s history and identity.

Influences of Vietnamese mythology

  1. Buddhism: Buddhism is one of the most prominent religions in Vietnam. There is a significant presence of Mahayana Buddhism, which has followers both in the Vietnamese community and in temples and monasteries scattered throughout the country. Vietnamese Buddhists follow various traditions and teachings of Buddhism.
  2. Taoism and Confucianism: Although not predominant religions in the country, Taoism and Confucianism have been influential in Vietnamese culture, particularly in philosophical, ethical and social aspects.
  3. Folk beliefs and local spirituality: Vietnam also has a rich tradition of folk beliefs and local spirituality that encompasses elements of animism, ancestor worship and practices of veneration of gods and nature spirits.
  4. Vietnamese mythology: Vietnamese mythology is rich and varied, with a wide range of gods, heroes and legends. Examples include figures such as the country’s mother goddess, Mẫu Thượng Thiên, and the legend of Emperor Hùng Vương, considered the mythical founder of the Vietnamese nation.
  5. Chinese cultural influences: Due to its geographical proximity and long history of interaction, Vietnam has been influenced by Chinese culture in various aspects, including religious and mythological elements.
  6. Influences from other religions: While Buddhism is the main religion, there are religious minorities in Vietnam who practice Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and other religions.

Legends of Vietnam

Vietnam has a rich tradition of myths and legends that form an important part of its culture and heritage. These mythological legends we tell you about are just some of the many stories that are part of Vietnam’s rich folklore and cultural heritage, passed down from generation to generation over the centuries.

Hùng Vương

This legend focuses on Hùng Vương, who is considered the first king of Vietnam. According to legend, Hùng Vương led his people in the fight against Chinese invaders and founded the Vietnamese nation. The Hùng dynasty, said to be descended from him, ruled Vietnam for several centuries.

Hùng Vương - Vietnamese mythology
Hùng Vương

Legend of the magic sword

This legend tells the story of how King Lê Lợi received a magic sword, called “Hoan Kiem”, from a turtle in a lake. This sword is said to have helped him defeat Chinese invaders of the country in the 15th century. The sword was returned to the turtle after the victory and is believed to still reside in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.

Legend of Mẫu Thượng Thiên

Mẫu Thượng Thiên is a deity revered as the mother of the country in Vietnamese mythology. She is considered a maternal figure who protects and watches over the welfare of the nation and its people. Her cult is rooted in Vietnamese folk culture and she is honored in festivals and rituals.

Legend of the Tet Trung Thu Festival (Full Moon Festival)

This popular festival in Vietnam Mythology celebrated in Vietnam and other Asian countries. One of the legends associated with this festival involves a man who flew to the moon with the help of a peach tree and a rabbit residing on the moon.

Legend of the Creation of Ha Long Bay

It is said that the majestic Ha Long Bay was created by dragons that descended to earth and, as they moved, created islands and rock formations in the sea. This legend explains the natural and unique beauty of the bay, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Legend of the white crane and the fisherman

In this legend, a fisherman named Cuội saves an injured white crane. As a token of gratitude, the crane takes him to a heavenly world where he meets a princess. However, Cuội becomes homesick and decides to return. The crane takes him back, but when Cuội tries to recount his experience, he breaks a magical branch that separates him forever from the princess and the heavenly world.

Legend of Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi

Long Bien Bridge is said to have been built with the help of a spirit named Cuoi, who supplied supernatural materials that enabled its construction. It is rumored that spirits still reside on the bridge and that those who pass over it can experience paranormal phenomena.

Legend of the fairies at Ban Gioc Waterfall

Ban Gioc waterfall in northern Vietnam is associated with a legend that tells of two fairies who used to play at the waterfall. It is said that one of the fairies fell in love with a shepherd and gave up her immortal life to be with him, which led the other fairy to disappear in a whirlpool of water forever.

Legend of the dragon’s egg shell on Cham Island

According to this legend, a mother dragon, in protecting Vietnam from foreign invasions, dropped a dragon egg that turned into the 365 islands of Nha Trang Bay (Cham Islands).

Tet Trung Thu - Vietnamese mythology
Tet Trung Thu

Places in Vietnam Mythology

There are many historical places in Vietnam’s Mythology, natural and cultural that have mythological significance or are considered mythical in the country’s tradition. These mythologized or legendary places in Vietnam have significant cultural, religious or historical importance, and are often rooted in legends and myths passed down through generations.

Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay (Ha Long Bay)

This site is famous for its emerald waters and more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets covered with lush vegetation. According to local mythology, the bay was formed by dragons that descended to earth and created these islands with their tails.

Temple of Literature (c – Quốc Tử Giám)

This temple in Hanoi is a historical and educational site dedicated to the worship of Confucius. In addition to its cultural significance, the temple is associated with the legend of the foundation of education in Vietnam and has been a symbol of knowledge and learning since ancient times.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

Located on the border between Vietnam and China, this majestic waterfall is known for its scenic beauty and is associated with the legend of fairies who used to play in its crystal clear waters.

Yen Tu Mountain

This sacred place is known as the site where King Trần Nhân Tông abdicated and became a Buddhist monk in the 13th century. The mountain is an important destination for pilgrims and has several Buddhist temples and shrines.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the heart of Hanoi, this lake has an island with the Ngoc Son Temple and is associated with the legend of the magic sword that is said to have belonged to King Le Loi and was returned to a turtle in this lake.

Hue Complex

The imperial city of Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen dynasty. The complex, including the Perfume River and the Citadel, is steeped in Vietnamese history and mythology, being a symbol of the country’s former imperial greatness.

Ban Gioc
Ban Gioc

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