Ninh Binh Snapshots Vietnam

Living Amongst The Dead In Vietnam

By on October 18, 2016
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Burial Temple, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

As I travelled through Vietnam I was lucky enough to gain small glimpse of the connection between the Vietnamese people and their land. Each day you will see whole families in the fields working tirelessly just to grow enough food to survive. Look closer and you’ll begin to notice, dotted in the fields, dotted in the fields are ancestral graves. These can range from elaborate, brightly-decorated structures to just simple earth mounds.

After death, the custom is for a person to be buried on their land for a mourning period of up to 3 years. Then the bones are exhumed (normally in the darkness) carefully washed, arranged into a smaller ceramic box and then re buried. I stood in the swirling morning mist on the edge of the paddy field to take this picture.

In that moment I felt something that was deeply moving and powerful. An echo of an ancient epitaph that was more elegant than anything that could be written. This is my land, this is where I belong. I am among the living who work around me each day, see me, remember me and smile.



Steve & Sharon
Perth, Australia

We are an Aussie couple on a midlife walkabout, exploring the world at our own pace. Over the years we have become unashamed addicts, in search of that next travel fix. We invite you to share our adventures and look forward to hearing about yours.

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