Every year in the spring, the refugees from North Vietnam organise a procession through the streets of Saigon, the Capital of South Vietnam.
SOUTH VIETNAM: Saigon:
M.S. Women carrying swords.
Old man and woman walking.
Man in trance.
Woman carrying offerings.
Procession (back view).
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Background: Every year in the spring, the refugees from North Vietnam organise a procession through the streets of Saigon, the Capital of South Vietnam.
The refugees, the bulk of them Buddhists, hold this procession while praying for the happiness of their fellowmen and welfare of the country they have left behind.
Participated as much by women as men, the Buddhist procession gathers in strength as it marches on with some of them carrying swords and devotee bearing an image of Buddha in a decorated throne.
Sooner or later, some in the procession take on the "spirit" and go into a trance. Women are no exception. Though it is men who to fulfil vows do penance.
One of the regular offerings a devotee could make in return for a boon granted is to pierce himself with a long sharp steel spear.
Apart from a pierced cheeks, some put on a rope round their necks.
Those who do not have any vows to be fulfilled just pray with joss sticks that while burning give out perfumed smoke.
When the hours long procession winds its way to a Buddhist temple, yet another prayer would have been said for their fellowmen North of the 17th parallel.