Laos #2

Mộ - grave

My mother's family is originally from Vietnam. Naturally. We're all Vietnamese though.
But there was a time where a lot of Vietnamese people fled to Laos, looking for work. That's why Laos has a lot of Vietnamese people living there and with time they kind of »mixed« the cultures. So, that's how the term »Viet Lao« was created. (or developed)

Anyway, when we got to Paksé, my mom already told me, that we have to go to the »Mộ« for visiting and paying our respects to our ancestors and also to look after their graves.
Look after their graves?! What should this supposed to mean? 

At the time we got there, I understood right away.

This cemetery didn't look like those we know from here. It was all a mess. I couldn't recognize a system of graves, all the graves were just every which way. And even the graves themselves, they didn't look neat. There were grasses and weeds everywhere, on the grave, but also next to the grave.
It was a Vietnamese cemetery, I guess. Laotian people usually »burry« their ancestors differently.

My mom and I naturally didn't know where it was, but our relative did, so he found it quickly.
We brought incense sticks and fresh fruits with us for offering them to our ancestors. 

It's kind of a ritual, which is pretty common in the Vietnamese culture 
- offering food to our ancestors in the spirit world. 
(I find it a pretty nice thought.)

So, little plates were prepared with different kind of exotic fruits and put our incense sticks there after praying.  Also, we took care of the condition of the graves a little, that means, we were weeding and cleaning a little so that everything looks neat again.

We met two older men. They were the »gardener«. Two people for this big cemetery. Of course everything couldn't look perfect like the cemeteries we know from here.
We gave them a little bit money and asked them nicely if they could look after the graves of our ancestors. That money was more like a tip. They earn money from the city for working there, but our tip was more like a »thank you«.

That was quite an experience for me. I've never been to a Vietnamese cemetery before and I found this ritual kind of nice, offering them food and looking after their »current place«.
I was told that in the beginning or March, there's even a holiday, where people gather at the cemetery and have a feast. They're celebrating their ancestors, offering them food, but enjoying themselves too. What a nice holiday, isn't it? To memento our ancestors, we throw a big feast with everyone. So nice.

Mộ Mộ Mộ Mộ Mộ Mộ Mộ

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