The Role of the Spiritual Forests in Life of Ethnic Minorities in the Vietnam’s Central Mountainous Area

  • Tạp chí Nghiên cứu tôn giáo
  • Tuan Le Anh
Keywords: Spiritual, sacred forest, ethnic minorities, customary law, traditional management, central mountainous area, Vietnam.


For ethnic minorities residing in the Vietnam’s central mountainous area, the meaning of forest does not simply refer to materials, environment, and resources but also the spiritual culture. The spiritual forest has been located in the consciousness and life of the ethnic minority for a long time. It is based on the concepts of the universe, animism and represented in the forms of
forest of the sacred and forest of ghosts. Religious beliefs formed spiritual forests in Vietnam and in other countries in the world and this helped to preserve truly primeval forests. Moreover,
spiritual forests have played an important role in the material, spiritual, and social lives of the ethnic minorities. The roles of the spiritual forests in the social life can be seen in the activities of
maintaining and creating the social space where people practise and hand down customs, indigenous knowledge, taboos associated with forest trees, wild animals, rituals with offerings
for the god of the forest, etc. Therefore, the spiritual forest is a valuable asset of the ethnic minority communities in the Vietnam’s central mountainous area.

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