The Vietnamese have many unique customs. They have a great respect for their families and ancestors. Children obey their parents, and wives obey their husbands. Many people practice ancestor worship. altar to honor ancestorsThey have shrines in their homes where they burn incense for their deceased family members. They believe that they must treat their ancestors well, or bad things could happen. If a special pet dies, a family might bury it as if it were one of the family. People, especially in the highlands, believe that everything has a spirit. They respect and even worship things like trees, animals, clouds, and streams. Sacred animals of Vietnam include dragons, turtles, and more.
The Vietnamese are very suspicious. Things must happen right on special occasions such as Tet, or the family will have bad luck. There are numerous signs that could mean bad fortune is imminent. Geomancy is another superstition. It is centered on the belief that all things in the universe must line up. Before the building of any important structures or buildings, geomancers or pepole who understand the principals of geomancy are consulted.
Confucianism introduced a strict moral code, formality, harmony with nature, and established a social order centered around society, family, and male dominance. Buddhism stresses self improvement, and greatly influences Vietnamese life. The French colonists brought industrialization, the idea of individual importance, and the equality of men and women. To this day bits of all shape Vietnamese life and traditions.