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It was an intimate afternoon in Dalat in the heart of a Vietnamese family for a gathering  paying tribute to their great-grandfather and great-grandmother. In Asian countries, reverence for the past is an ancestral custom passed down from generation to generation. Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism are the main currents of thought that have given birth to Vietnamese philosophy, with Confucianism constituting the largest part. According to the latter, death does not lead to the annihilation of the human being, but instead, the soul of the deceased goes into exile. Through ritual, the family members who are left behind ease the path of their deceased kin in exile, while simultaneously absolving themselves of their misdeeds. They bring the spirit back to the family altar in order to venerate it. In a central room of the house, a small altar is placed on a lacquered cabinet or a simple table, and is surrounded by photos of the deceased, flowers, incense, food, as well as offerings accompanied by prayers.

 

"Filial Piety, continued Confucius, is the root of all virtues and the first source of teaching."

Lao Tzeu

 

 

This photo-documentary depicts those intergenerational rituals still revered today with a slight modern twist during an intimate family reunion in the rural heart of Dalat.