If the Ancient Greek have Venus-the goddess of love and her son Eros, the Roman with Aphrodite and her son Cupid, here in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, we also have our own version of love gods. And that is the matchmakers (also known as “ông tơ bà nguyệt” in Vietnamese), the holy couple that is believed to bring lovers together by a red thread tied around their pinkies, connected to that of their significant others.
The myth of these two marriage gods derives from the story of Yue Lao in China. Legend has it that there was a man named Wei Gu who accidentally came across an old man sitting under the moonlight. Captivated by that sight, Wei Gu came up to the man and asked what he was doing. The old man said that he was reading a book listing names of all the predestined couples. Wei Gu got curious and asked about his future wife, the guidance of the old man led him to a village where he saw a poor, ragged little girl. Couldn’t believe that the girl was going to be his future wife, Wei Gu ordered to stab her and left.
Years later, Wei Gu got married to a beautiful woman who was the daughter of the governor of Xiangzhou but strangely, his wife had a scar on her back. When asked about the scar, she told Wei Gu that fourteen years ago she was just a poor girl begging for a living at a small village. One day, she got stabbed and thought she was going to die, but then the gorvenor of Xiangzhou found her and later adopted her as his daughter. At that point, Wei Gu finally believed in what Yue Lao told him fourteen years ago.
Vietnamese have a profound belief based on the balance between Yin and Yang in their culture. That’s why when the story of Yue Lao was imported into Vietnamese culture, our people created a couple of god and goddess instead of just one god to fit the traditional faith of Vietnam. People still believe, if not worship these deities up to now and locals, especially young people, pray to them in hope for a perfect soulmate and a true, long lasting love.
Written by: Thien Khanh
Designed by: Tan Le
Image sources: Google, etc.