Friday, October 14, 2011

Spirit Shrines

The spirit is ever-present in Vietnam – even on street corners in sophisticated downtown Saigon you will come across these small shrines dedicated to the wandering ghosts and the spirits of place.

These shrines are actively tended by people in the community who offer fruit and incense every day.

This is a humble example from Tan Binh District in suburban Ho Chi Minh City. In the countryside, especially in central Vietnam, the spirit houses become larger, more colourful and elaborate.

This speaks to an ancient animist tradition that still holds great sway in Vietnam.

Streets and suburbs are possessed of their own protective spirits, but even more so are mountains, old trees and waterfalls.

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