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A best friend revered in Vietnam

It was probably 14 meters long and weighed 15 tons, and towing it to land would be a challenge, but Sau and the other fishermen decided to do it anyway. It took them nearly seven hours to bring it to Mui Ne in Phan Thiet town on the south-central coast. Locals organized a funeral for the animal, placed it in a shroud and buried it with respect. After a period of time the bones will be dug up, carefully cleaned and placed in a temple for worshiping.

Why these solemn rituals for a dead animal? To fishermen in Vietnam, especially on the central and southern coasts, the whale is not just any animal; it is worshiped as Ca Ong, or “Lord Whale.” who protects them at sea. Ca Ong is a deity who helps them overcome all hazards at sea, and so fishermen pray to the whale for a safe trip every time they go fishing. This is a practice that has been followed for generations.

Reprinted from June 16, 2019

Van Thuy Tu Temple, located in Phan Thiet City showcases many huge, carefully preserved whale skeletons. Every June 20 of the lunar calendar there is a community celebration with rituals, folk songs and games.

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