Vietnam: Taidam “paenk khwan” ceremony

Taidam, an ethnic minority community living in north-west Vietnam, have a strong belief in evil spirits, which can cause illness, while good spirits or more specifically the presence of the “khwan” (the soul) in the body preserves health. The “khwan” might be broken or overcome by fear or some supernatural powers, which leads to sickness or being continuously tired.

Therefore, after someone's soul is broken, their family will carry out a ceremony in order to please the soul and "repair" it. This takes place on a reasonable day from the Taidam calendar. People make offerings such as rice, fish and traditional silver jewelry, all of which lie on some tables and are put in front of the person's bed. A powwow is invited and gives a speech of aroudn two hours, suggetsing the reason for the sickness and asingk for forgiveness. When it finished, cords are tied around the wrist and the neck of the sick person.

This ceremony is usually held before a person starts on a long trip, to cure an illness or rid them of the memory of a sorrowful event. The scale depends on each situation and the status of the health of the person. It is believed that these ceremonies help to sustain the soul in the body and keep evil spirits out, preserving and restoring health as well as helping to strengthen the soul in order to face life's catastrophes.

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Date: 17/10/2012


Culture and Tradition
Indigenous Peoples
Religion/Religious minorities

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