The village in the city: cúng xóm (‘hamlet worship’) in Hồ Chí Minh City during Tết, the lunar New Year festival


In recent years an interesting phenomenon can be observed in certain parts of Hồ Chí Minh City, usually about eight or nine days after Tết, the lunar New Year. On street corners and in alleyways in some residential areas at this time, marquees and altar tables are set up for rituals known as lễ cúng xóm, ‘hamlet worship’, but which in this context means worship by neighbourhood groups. These are groups of households which have at  their core those with a common origin in the centre of Vietnam, particularly Quảng Nam province. This paper describes these rituals and outlines their nature and significance. Lễ cúng xóm provides a number of insights into cross-regional ties, the dynamics of internal migration in Vietnam, and the process of adaptation to urban life, as well as giving us glimpses into the nature of Tết and a contemporary urban communal religious  activity associated with it.
Download this paper: DORISEA WP 11 McAllister The Village in the City