Hoi An is a historically and culturally diverse town in Vietnam, and it has several religions and belief systems practiced by its residents. The exact number of religions in Hoi An may not be easy to pinpoint because many people may practice a combination of religious beliefs. The major religions and belief systems in Hoi An are the combination of the three main religions: Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Added to these are the customs and practice of spirit worship and ancestor veneration. In this article, let’s find out the biggest religion in Hoi An – Buddhism.
The three main Religions in Hoi An
Buddhism: Buddhism is a major religion in Vietnam, and there are several Buddhist temples and pagodas in Hoi An. The most famous one is the Quan Cong Temple, which is dedicated to the Chinese general Quan Cong and serves as both a place of worship and a tourist attraction.
Confucianism: Confucianism has also played a significant role in the religious and cultural life of Hoi An. The town has a long history of Confucian influence, and you can find Confucian temples in the area.
Taoism: Taoism is another Chinese philosophical and religious tradition that has influenced Hoi An’s culture and spirituality. The Fujian Assembly Hall, a significant historical and cultural site in the town, is dedicated to the worship of Taoist deities.
The influence of Buddhism in Hoi An
In Vietnamese, Hội means “gathering’”, An means “peace”. Hội An basically means a peaceful place, a land where peace gathers. One of the factors that make Hoi An peaceful like its name is Buddhism. Buddhism is the biggest religion in Hoi An. With around 15,000 devoted Buddhists, Buddhism is more than a religion here; it’s a way of life, woven into every facet of this charming town. From vibrant local pagodas to the unique culinary traditions of “vegetarian days”, it’s evident that Buddhism deeply influences the daily rhythm of Hoi An. As you stroll through the town, especially during the serene evenings, the gentle chants of the locals will captivate you.
There are 2 main branches of Buddhism:
– Theravada Buddhism: Mainly practiced in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and so on.
– Mahayana Buddhism: Mainly practiced in China, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and so on.
Mahayana Buddhism has had a significant influence on the religious and cultural landscape of Hoi An, as it is one of the major branches of Buddhism practiced in the region.
Mahayana Buddhism has affected Hoi An’s religion and culture by influencing the architectural style of many temples and pagodas in Hoi An. These structures often feature distinctive elements, such as multi-tiered roofs and intricate carvings, which are characteristic of Mahayana Buddhist architecture. In addition, Hoi An is home to several Buddhist temples and pagodas that adhere to the Mahayana tradition. These religious sites serve as places of worship, meditation, and community gatherings for the local Buddhist population.
Hoi An (Faifo), as a cultural melting spot, absorbed other cultural elements, from Japan, China and many countries in Southeast Asia, with deep, lasting imprints left by the Chinese Culture. Besides, Hoi An also has several religions and belief systems practiced by its residents. Hoi An’s history as a trading port has facilitated cultural exchange, and Mahayana Buddhism has been an integral part of this exchange, and this influence is reflected in the town’s religious and cultural traditions.
That is why Buddhists come to pagodas to practice Buddhism on certain days, and there are “vegetarian days” in Hoi An. Because of Buddhism, you see Buddhist statues in many local houses. The Local people believe in Karma and then do good things for other people.
Because of Buddhism, when one member of a family dies, other members turn to vegetarian food for 49 days because they believe this creates good Karma for the death. When you walk around Hoi An, especially at night, you also often hear local people chanting.
Through the article, It all tells us one thing: Buddhism has a great impact on the local culture of Hoi An. Besides, this is the reason why our FREE Walking Tour brings you to Phap Bao Pagoda which is close to the ancient town to help you understand more about Buddhism here.
Check out our Hoianese Local Tour to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation to have a deep local connection with Hoi An today!