Like most other Eastern countries, Vietnam also has its own beliefs, culture, and religions, which have been formed and developed over the centuries. Ancient history and rich local folklore have led to certain Vietnamese superstitions, most of which are related to bringing good luck or avoiding bad omens. Some people just see them as things to remember in life, but there are people who follow them as if they were the ultimate law of the universe.

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vietnamese superstitions
Source: thoidai

In Vietnam’s daily life, there are a lot of unusual things happening that no one can explain. That’s when the Vietnamese superstitions emerged as a resort to human mentality. Even when science and education have strongly developed, the majority of the Vietnamese still rely on common conceptions “There is no worship without sacredness, there is no taboo without luck”. Hence, there are some things, some actions that they consider good and of course, some are seen as bad, that need avoiding. The following are some popular superstitions in Vietnam that can amaze you. 

1 - Vietnamese superstitions list: The first caller bringing luck

vietnamese superstition


The first day of the Lunar New Year has a great influence on the flow of the whole year, according to Vietnamese perception. Every action,  gesture,... on this day must be paid close attention to. Particularly, the first guest visiting the house is believed to bring luck to the host family and this Vietnam superstition has been standing for a very long time. Therefore, normally families will determine a person who is successful, generous, sociable, and healthy and send an invitation to him or her and note that they are the first caller of their home. Once all clock hands hit number 12, the old year ends, a new one comes, the person is expected to enter the gate of the house, send best wishes to the host, and just remain for a short time. 

2 - Avoiding sweeping the house during Tet holiday 

This is one of the popular Vietnamese superstitions New Year. Tet in Vietnam is associated with guest visiting, eating, eveloping, which means there is a lot of waste. However, it is a custom of the country that people don’t clean their homes during the time because sweeping dirt means throwing away fortune. You may wonder how the residence looks without being unclustered. In fact, folks collect them in a corner of the house so that the shelter is still neat while the luck is saved. 

3 - Top 7 Vietnamese superstitions: Burning “ghost money” 

vietnam superstitions

Burning “ghost money” is a popular superstitions in Vietnam - Source:

Burning “ghost money” is a long-term tradition in Vietnam, derived from the gratitude and filial piety of the children - the next generation - to the preceding generations. Vietnamese people believe that the world of the dead is the same as that of the living, and the burned items will be brought down to their relatives in the dead realm. That’s why this superstition in Vietnam comes to life. When it is the funeral, the anniversary of the death or big holidays, they will burn a couple of ghost money and paper items in the hope that their ancestors or deceased people can receive them. Those other items used to be just clothes, hats, jewelry, cars, houses, etc., but now there are also modern and fashionable votives such as iPhones, computers, etc.

This is one of the very few Vietnamese superstitions which can pose a threat to the environment. Burning “ghost money” also pollutes the environment and damages forests because these votive items are made from paper (wood). Moreover, too many paper items burned can result in the possibility of fire. Even so, people continue to do so because they think it is something they can do for the people who gave birth to them or the people they are indebted to, giving them peace of mind.

4 - Vietnamese superstitions: Burning a bamboo spill for chasing ill luck away

superstition in vietnamese


Vietnamese people have one believe that a human has souls and spirits, in particular, a man has 3 souls and 7 spirits while these numbers are respectively 3 and 9 to a woman. Some people possess “good spirits” which will bring happiness and good luck to the person they contact. In contrast, there are those who feature “ill spirits” that they send pity to others. This idea results in a Vietnam superstition which is burning a bamboo spill (a piece of paper) to drive ill spirits away. By firing a piece of paper or some incense and flinching to anywhere perceived to be haunted while murmuring spells, the folk thinks they are saved from being affected.   

5 - Top Vietnamese superstitions: Judging home direction before buying 

“Settle down with a house and a job” is an immortal saying of the old Vietnamese. You can’t have a stable career without a residence. Therefore, buying a house is a basic need for everyone. However, a house, a building is such a valuable property that can be taken as granted. Buyer must ponder days and nights before making a decision. One of the Vietnamese superstitions of buying a house is judging the home's direction. 

Commonly, judging the direction depends on the age and information of the eldest members, also referred to as the head of the family or the lineage. The head of the family is the firm shoulder to other members to rely on, hence choosing the direction that is suitable for the breadwinner is the best. Age is seen as the most important factor for determination. Moreover, the architecture must ensure harmony amongst all feng shui details. 

6 - Top 7 Vietnamese superstitions: Consulting horoscope 

superstitions in vietnam


Horoscopes are a method of foretelling a person’s future based on the position and the movement of stars and planets in the universe and consulting horoscopes is one of the most popular superstitions in Vietnam. The science originated in China but soon imported in Vietnam and became popular even until now. Even though most people believe that “everything is numbered”, they are still curious about their destiny and find horoscope masters to get informed and ask for advice.   

7 - Taboos in pregnancy

Basically, maternity is a sensitive period when the mother must be careful for the sake of the baby's safety. That is why there are many  Vietnamese superstitions for pregnant women. In the S-shaped country, pregnant women need to pay close attention to a series of taboos, some of which have scientific bases, some don’t. For example, pregnant moms must refuse to attend funerals because these are the gathering places of miasma which can threaten the life of the fetus. Another bizarre superstition in Vietnam is that it is not advisable to prepare clothes or baby stuff before eighth-month pregnancy. If you purchase at an early stage, the child will leave you. It is the outcome of coincident cases of miscarriage, stillbirth. In addition, Vietnamese pregnant women avoid squatting in fear of dropping out the little kid or being in a mood since they don’t want their newborn child to have a sorrowful face.          

Beliefs and religions are spiritual needs of a nation, which have existed and will exist with the nation and cannot be completely eliminated. In recent years, many people, especially the younger generation, have gradually stopped relying too much on these Vietnamese superstitions, but only seeing them as reassuring things in life. However, there are many people who are completely delusional and blindly believe in these things, harming not only themselves but also those around them. The superstitions in Vietnam has their pros and cons, the problem only arises when people confuse healthy beliefs with fanaticism and blind faith, losing their insight

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Being born and living here in Vietnam, I got a chance to see lots of beautiful places, try countless great dishes, & experience many interesting things in places I visited. And It's so great to share all things I know about Vietnam to you.

Giang Pham — Giang Pham



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