Each passing year in a person’s life brings esteem and respect to their family and neighborhood. Formerly, at the age of 40 one was honored for being an old man or woman.
During the Tran Dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries, the 40 year old emperor gave up his throne to his son to become a Buddhist monk.
According to village customs, a man of 50 is to be honored as an old man. Old men stop working and are no longer village officials; however, they are still invited to festivals and to sears in the communal house. In the festival, they are seated honorably on red-bordered mats.
Showing respect and esteem for the elderly is a tradition that remains today. Nowadays, when grandparents or parents reach the ages of 70, 80 or 90, their children and grandchildren organize ceremonies for longevity which are generally held on birthdays or during the spring days during Tet.
Such celebrations are occasions to show devotion and respect to grandparents and parents. Celebrations for longevity, either large or small, manifest the family’s joy in having a relative who has been able to lead a long life.
Today, in almost every village or urban district, there is an association of longevity for the elderly. When reaching the ages of 70 or 80, old women are offered red dresses and other gifts and are invited to be photographed.