Tag Archives: Vietnam

VIETNAMESE WAR GOD THAN GIONG

Than GiongTHAN GIONG – Vietnamese god of war and 1 of the 4 main deities in their mythology (often called The Four Immortals). The mother of Than Giong once fell into one of the enormous footprints left from long ago by Khong Lo, the primordial giant. She thereby became pregnant (you know mythology!) and gave birth to a baby who was always silent and unmoving for the 1st several years of his life. At length during an invasion by China the reigning member of the Hung Vuong Dynasty sent messengers around the kingdom asking for any help that could be given against the invaders.
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The baby spoke for the first time, telling his parents to bring the messenger in their village, Phu Dong Village , to him. He was brought and the baby identified himself as a god who would repel the invasion. Because the child talked like an adult the messenger and the villagers believed him. The messenger went to tell the reigning Hung Vuong, while Than Giong’s parents and the other villagers obeyed the child’s instructions to bring him all the food they could find. Over the next days the child consumed enormous quantities of rice, pork, beef, fish and vegetables, growing and growing all the while.

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VIETNAMESE MYTHOLOGY: THACH SANH

Thach SanhTHACH SANH – A son of the supreme deity Ngoc Hoang. His father forced him to incarnate as a human and in this demi-god form he fought monsters, rescued the son of the chief sea god Long Vuong, vanquished his evil foster-brother and married a beautiful princess.
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He then went on to lead her father’s people in a war of conquest, uniting the legendary and traditional “original 18″ villages (though some sources say 15 villages) that were the basis of the nation that eventually grew into ancient Vietnam.
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The number 18 has special significance in Vietnamese mythology, like the number 8 in Shinto myth, 16 in Yoruba myth, 4 in Navajo myth, 5 in Discordianism and 12 in many western belief systems. There were also said to have been 18 rulers in the possibly non-existent Hung Vuong Dynasty. For another example, Ngoc Hoang and the heavenly deities were said to live in the 18th Heaven above the 18th Heaven (AKA the 36th heaven, a name used in some English translations)  
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Thach Sanh is said to have Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTHOLOGY: THE THUNDER GOD

THIEN LOI – Vietnamese thunder god. The chief deity Ngoc Hoang appointed him as the Divine Judge and put him in charge of punishing criminals, blasphemers, and the seriously immoral. He was also in charge of striking down all those predestined to be struck by lightning, be they human or animal. In addition he often destroyed the Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTHOLOGY: THE GOD OF FIRE

AH NHI – The Vietnamese god of fire. The child of the sun goddess, he is often depicted holding a burning golden crow similar to the golden roosters that adorn his mother’s palanquin. In other myths about the fire god this Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTHOLOGY: BA CO, THE “SIRENS” OF HALONG BAY

Halong Bay, home of the Ba Co, or Sirens of Vietnam

Halong Bay, home of the Ba Co, or Sirens of Vietnam

BA CO – “Three girls.” Water goddesses of Quang Hanh Grotto (9 km west of Cam Pha), often called the tunnel grotto.

Long ago three young ladies, in some versions friends, in others sisters, were journeying around Halong Bay. The Quang Hanh Grotto is accessible by boat or on land but the entrance is only visible when the tide is out.

The Ba Co sought shelter from heavy rainfall by entering the grotto when the tide was out. Entranced by the beauty of the grotto they Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTHOLOGY: THE TRUNG SISTERS

The Trung Sisters, national goddesses of ancient Vietnam, atop their war elephants

The Trung Sisters, national goddesses of ancient Vietnam, atop their war elephants

THE TRUNG SISTERS – Trung Trac and her sister Trung Nhi occupy a special place in Vietnamese mythology. If you want a glib or simplistic comparison to approach their story with think of them as an ancient Vietnamese version of Lakshmibai of Jhansi in the history of India or Joan of Arc in Western lore. In the early 40’s C.E. Trung Trac led an uprising against the latest Chinese occupiers withher sister acting in a much smaller capacity according to all accounts but the Trung Sisters  are always mentioned as a team and iconography usually depicts them together astride their battle elephant.

 Trung Trac’s uprising, consisting largely of former noble families and by all accounts (even on the Chinese side) large numbers of female combatants, succeeded in driving the occupying forces far to the north. She then abolished all the Chinese taxes and restored Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTH 2 PAGE UPDATED – THE CONCLUSION OF A WAR BETWEEN GODS

The final chapter of the epic myth A War Between Gods.

For the earlier chapters and more Vietnamese myths click here:  https://glitternight.com/vietnamese-myth-2/

Canto VII – For months the conflict lasted in this manner, until finally the period of the year when Thuy Tinh was in charge of shepherding the rain clouds came to an end and one of the sea god Long Vuong’s daughters or granddaughters (accounts vary) began shepherding her clouds in for her designated part of the year. She had no quarrel with Tan Vien or Mi Nuong and so the rains returned to a milder state, allowing the flood waters to subside. Interestingly, that is similar to Native American myths in which hard rains are called “male rains” and soft rains are called “female rains”.

The carnage was incredible, with the remains of buildings and the corpses of land and sea animals who had died in the fighting scattered plentifully about the landscape. In some versions this war between gods brought on the end of mythical creatures like the lans (a mythical tiger/giraffe/saola/ lizard  hybrid creature) ,the makaras and the tiger-headed elephants and sometimes others.

The  creatures and mythical relics lost in the war varies and is sometimes used as a virtual catch- all for explaining the disappearance of items and beasts. It reminds me of how The Churning of the Ocean in Hindu mythology was at first used simply to explain how the gods produced Soma for their own consumption but then gradually more and more items were added to the list of things spawned by that event including Airavata, the elephant the storm god Indra rides and the love and beauty goddess Lakshmi herself (shades of Aphrodite being born of the sea foam caused by the severed genitals of Chronos. And for my British readers wouldn’t ”The Severed Genitals” make a great name for a pub? Okay, forget it.)

Tan Vien and Chua Con ho helped Hung Vuong XVIII and his people recover from the flood and Tan Vien also taught them ways of trying to safeguard against future deluges. Inevitably, each year, the period when Thuy Tinh would shepherd in the rain clouds he was in charge of returned and his attempt to take Mi Nuong from Tan Vien Mountain by force resumed. Thuy Tinh became known as the god of the monsoon rains and was dreaded because of the  harm he might cause on each of his returns. All friendship between him and Tan Vien was forgotten and the two remain bitter enemies to this  day.             

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VIETNAMESE MYTH 2 PAGE UPDATED: PART 6 OF A WAR BETWEEN GODS

Here is the sixth chapter of the epic myth A War Between Gods, complete with another of my pet theories in comparative mythology. For all the chapters plus Vietnamese gods and goddesses click here: https://glitternight.com/vietnamese-myth-2/

CANTO VI – Thuy Tinh called down the strongest rains and the most furious winds the world had ever seen (but would see many times thereafter). Countless city and country dwellers were drowned in the deluge and rice paddies, dams, residences and estates of the lesser nobles were submerged. Tan Vien and the jungle animals he was the lord of were permtting humans to Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTH 2 PAGE UPDATED: PART 4 OF A WAR BETWEEN GODS AND MORE!

Here is the fourth part of the Vietnamese epic myth A War Between Gods, plus added entries on myths associated with the reigns of Hung Vuong V and VI. For the other parts of A War Between Gods here is the link: https://glitternight.com/vietnamese-myth-2/

CANTO IV – Hung Vuong XVIII regarded the two remaining competitors for Mi Nuong’s hand with glee. He stated that the only competition that his daughter’s suitors hadn’t been subjected to was a test of raw power. Thuy Tinh demonstrated his power first, summoning the seasonal rains he was the lord of and bringing down such an intense downpour that rivers were quickly in danger of Continue reading

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VIETNAMESE MYTH 2 PAGE UPDATED: A WAR BETWEEN GODS CONTINUES

Part 3 of the epic myth A War Between Gods plus I added entries on myths set during the reigns of Hung Vuong III and Hung Vuong IV. For the full epic and entries on other Vietnamese gods Click here: https://glitternight.com/vietnamese-myth-2/

CANTO III – The day eventually arrived when Hung Vuong XVIII offered up Mi Nuong’s hand in marriage. Aristocrats came from as far away as  ancient India to compete for the hand of the legendarily beautiful princess. The patriarch of the Thuc family, who plotted to overthrow Hung Vuong XVIII, was among the Continue reading

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