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Jun 14, 2024 / 16:39

Vietnam licenses 43 religious organizations

A feature in Vietnam’s religious practices is that believers of one religion can engage in traditional spiritual activities.

As of May 2024, Vietnam recognized and licensed 43 sects of 16 religions with more than 27 million of followers or 27% of the total population. 

 Overview of the meeting between State President To Lam and prominent religious dignitaries in Hanoi on June 13. Photo: VOV 

The figures were reported by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu Chien Thang at a meeting between State President To Lam and religious dignitaries on June 13. 

The country is home to approximately 29,600 places of worship and over 54,000 religious establishments with more than 54,000 religious dignitaries and about 135,500 heads of religious congregations.

At the meeting with more than 60 representatives of 43 recognized religious organizations, State President To Lam reviewed the contributions of religious organizations to the cause of national construction and development since the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam). He said that the Communist Party of Vietnam and the State have always respected people’s right to freedom of belief and religion, and regarded it as a legitimate need of a section of the population.

The President affirmed that religious ethics have much in common with the traditional ethics of the nation and the cause of building a new society.

The Party and the State always pay attention to and create conditions for people of all religions to carry out routine religious activities, and encourage them to do deeds that benefit the country and contribute to building an increasingly prosperous and strong nation, the President said.

The President urged the public authorities, in accordance with their functions, duties and powers, to pay attention to and create conditions for religious organizations to operate in accordance with the law, their statutes, and rules.

He urged them to take care of the construction of religious infrastructure, and support and create mechanisms and conditions for religious organizations, dignitaries, congregation leaders, and religious followers to promote resources for the construction and development of the country. 

 State President To Lam at the meeting with religious dignitaries. 

Religions in Vietnam

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious country with a very high degree of religious diversity, as measured by the US-based Pew Forum Institute.

The religious diversity in Vietnam is the result of centuries of introduction, interference, and fusion between indigenous religions developed locally and those brought in from abroad. This diversity is becoming more pronounced in the context of global integration.

Apart from 27% of religious adherents, the majority of people in Vietnam engage in traditional spiritual practices. However, a distinctive feature of religious practices in Vietnam is that the followers who practice one religion or one god, such as Muslims, Protestants, or Catholics, can engage in folk spiritual practices at religious festivals, temples, and pagodas.

The beliefs of Vietnamese ethnic groups can be categorized into five categories, including (i) ancestor worship; (ii) worship of village gods; (iii) life cycle beliefs (birth, marriage, funerals, worship of the dead); (iv) occupational beliefs; and (v) God worship beliefs.

Among those, ancestor worship is a fundamental and popular belief practiced by Vietnamese people of all ethnic backgrounds and geographical locations.