Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lost Tradition: Ngay Gio

My country is not that big, but because of the war,  we often were terrorized by the communists when going from city to city. That was why I did not get to see or know many of my relatives.  I only knew a few of them that lived in the same village.  I think I was closer to my village neighbors than my own uncles, aunts and cousins.  I was able to see my father's side of the family once a year for we had a day called "Ngay Gio".  It's like a family reunion only we got together to remember our ancestors, our love ones who were dead.

Every year, on that particular day, most of my father's family members, near or far, all tried to come to our home because the Le Cemetery was in the same village where we lived.  My father's uncle, Le Van An, who was a Bishop from Long Khanh City, would also come home to the village to celebrate a Mass there at the cemetery.

This was about the only time of the year I saw my relatives who lived far outside my village.  After these few days were over,  we parted ways and promised to see each other again next year.  I was too young to remember  anybody.  Years later when the war became too intense to travel and the village became
more dangerous for relatives to visit, that celebration could no longer being honored; therefore, my chance of knowing any family members was even less than before.

Now, so many of my relatives I will never see. I left them behind in Viet Nam along with my family's property, our possessions, and our beloved cemetery with its cherished tradition.

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