|RELIGION AND BELIEF
- Religion and Belief
The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism
(which fuses forms of Taoism and Confusianism),
Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam,
Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect.
was first introduced to Vietnam in the 2nd century, and
reached its peak in the Ly dynasty (11th century). It
was then regarded as the official religion dominating
court affairs. Buddhism was preached broadly among the
population and it enjoyed a profound influence on
people's daily life. Its influence also left marks in
various areas of traditional literature and
architecture. As such, many pagodas and temples were
built during this time.
At the end of the 14th century, Buddhism began to show
signs of decline. The ideological influence of Buddhism,
however, remained very strong in social and cultural
life. Presenty, over 70 percent of the population of
Vietnam are either Buddhist or strongly influenced by
was introduced to Vietnam in the 17th century. At
present the most densely-populated Catholic areas are
Bui Chu-Phat Diem in the northern province of Ninh Binh
and Ho Nai-Bien Hoa in Dong Nai Province to the South.
About 10 percent of the population are considered
was introduced to Vietnam at about the same time as
Catholicism. Protestantism, however, remains an obscure
religion. At present most Protestants live in the
Central Highlands. There still remains a Protestant
church on Hang Da Street in Hanoi. The number of
Protestants living in Vietnam is estimated at 400,000.
Islamic followers in Vietnam are primarily from the Cham
ethnic minority group living in the central part of the
central coast. The number of Islamic followers in
Vietnam totals about 50,000.
was first introduced to the country in 1926. Settlements
of the Cao Dai followers in South Vietnam are located
near the Church in Tay Ninh. The number of followers of
this sect is estimated at 2 million.
- Hoa Hao Sect
The Hoa Hao Sect was first introduced to Vietnam in
1939. More than 1 million Vietnamese are followers of
this sect. Most of them live in the south-west of
- Mother Worship (Tho Mau)
describe the Vietnamese mother-worship cult as a
primitive religion. Mother, Me in the Vietnamese
language, is pronounced Mau in Sino-script. The mother
worship cult might be originated from the cult of the
Goddess in ancient ages. In the Middle Ages, the Mother
was worshipped in temples and palaces. Due to the fact
that it is a worshipping custom and not a religion, the
Mother worshipping cult has not been organised as
Buddhism and Catholicism have. As a result, the
different affiliations of the cult have yet to be
consistent and different places still have different
The custom of Mother worship originated from the north.
In the south, the religion has integrated the local
goddesses such as Thien Y A Na (Hue) and Linh Son (Tay
In fact, the Mother worship cult was influenced by other
religions, mainly Taoism.